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Hi,

I'm a bit confused regarding LORs for U of C vs U of A and U of T. According to U of C's manual they would like each of the 3 referees to speak to a different set of attributes. While for U of A and U of T, I understand its just 3 generic LORs? In that case, would the referees have to produce 2 different letters (one for U of C, and one for the other 2 schools) or would the letters made for U of C suffice for the other 2 schools as they combine to speak to a comprehensive  list of attributes? I figure its a lot to ask the referees to produce 2 sets of LORs but would really appreciate advice from past applicants on how they dealt with this?

Thanks!

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I don't know about UofC, but I'll explain for the other two. For UofT, they would like to see those 4 clusters mentioned across your letters. This means if all 3 references speak about all 4, it's fine, or if ref1 speaks about cluster 1, ref2 for cluster 2, ref3 for cluster 3+4, this would also satisfy the requirement. So if you went with  the last example you could use those same letters for UofC, but I wouldn't recommend that if you want to have the best possible letters for UofT (first example would be better). 

UofA asks that your references answer if they think you'd be a good doctor, with some other prompts along those lines. The reason I can't remember those other questions is because I asked my references to use the same letter they wrote for UofT, which didn't specifically talk about those questions. Yet I still received an interview so I don't think the LORs are as important at UofA

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On 8/9/2018 at 4:38 PM, Eudaimonia said:

I don't know about UofC, but I'll explain for the other two. For UofT, they would like to see those 4 clusters mentioned across your letters. This means if all 3 references speak about all 4, it's fine, or if ref1 speaks about cluster 1, ref2 for cluster 2, ref3 for cluster 3+4, this would also satisfy the requirement. So if you went with  the last example you could use those same letters for UofC, but I wouldn't recommend that if you want to have the best possible letters for UofT (first example would be better). 

UofA asks that your references answer if they think you'd be a good doctor, with some other prompts along those lines. The reason I can't remember those other questions is because I asked my references to use the same letter they wrote for UofT, which didn't specifically talk about those questions. Yet I still received an interview so I don't think the LORs are as important at UofA

With regards to the first example, if a referee could speak strongly about 2-3/4 clusters and only tangentially about the remaining 1-2/4 clusters just based on the nature of the respective activity would that make the letters seem "weaker" overall? Conversely would the second example produce 3 "stronger" letters individually?  

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2 hours ago, Anon1221 said:

With regards to the first example, if a referee could speak strongly about 2-3/4 clusters and only tangentially about the remaining 1-2/4 clusters just based on the nature of the respective activity would that make the letters seem "weaker" overall? Conversely would the second example produce 3 "stronger" letters individually?  

UofT just wants to make sure you strongly possess the qualities, whatever way they can glean from your 3 letters as a whole. How that is distributed in terms of depth/breadth for each letter is highly variable. Sorry, I meant that the second example would only be weaker because I think any reference can at least attempt to speak about all 4 clusters, regardless of how well. In this way, at least every reference tried to cover all 4 clusters and you don't have a situation where everyone forgot about a cluster, or that the only person who wrote about cluster x didn't illustrate it very nicely. 

This is how I would play it safe with UofT, but I don't know how strict UofC is about their letters for you to do some compromising

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2 hours ago, Eudaimonia said:

UofT just wants to make sure you strongly possess the qualities, whatever way they can glean from your 3 letters as a whole. How that is distributed in terms of depth/breadth for each letter is highly variable. Sorry, I meant that the second example would only be weaker because I think any reference can at least attempt to speak about all 4 clusters, regardless of how well. In this way, at least every reference tried to cover all 4 clusters and you don't have a situation where everyone forgot about a cluster, or that the only person who wrote about cluster x didn't illustrate it very nicely. 

This is how I would play it safe with UofT, but I don't know how strict UofC is about their letters for you to do some compromising

Thanks for the clarification! I agree with the approach now given that reasoning. 

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Just one last question I have is, if one of the 3 letters is from a professor that I have done/currently am doing research(was not course based) with during would that count as an academic reference? Or would an academic reference only be someone I have taken a graded course with? Im asking because I feel this person would know me better than a random professor I took a class with. Thanks for the help so far!  

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On 8/11/2018 at 7:21 PM, Anon1221 said:

Just one last question I have is, if one of the 3 letters is from a professor that I have done/currently am doing research(was not course based) with during would that count as an academic reference? Or would an academic reference only be someone I have taken a graded course with? Im asking because I feel this person would know me better than a random professor I took a class with. Thanks for the help so far!  

None of my references were professors I took courses with. A few professors I've chatted with have told me that these kinds of reference letters (e.g. "so-and-so took my course, participated in class often, and got an A+") tend to be weak, unless you have worked with the professor beyond just having taken their course.

It's not a bad idea to send your transcript to the professor you are doing research with. If they know you well, many professors/referees will be comfortable commenting on your academic achievements that they've seen on your transcripts even if they never taught you any of the courses. And yes, I would consider your prof an academic reference either way. 

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