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porcupine

Worth it to apply with "weak" references?

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I'm wondering if I should take a year off from applying due to "weak" references.

This upcoming cycle will be my third application cycle. My first cycle I was rejected post-interview from one school and this past year I was rejected post-interview from two schools. 

Unfortunately, I have thoroughly exhausted my references these past two years. I have used them sooo many times for OMSAS schools, OOP schools and job interviews after graduating that I can't use them again. My goal was to add more ECs and connections to potential references for this cycle, but COVID has put a huge damper on it (currently laid off from my job and cannot find a volunteer position in my small town, currently stuck in limbo as I'm sure a lot of us are).

This fall I will be pursuing a graduate diploma and hope to have better academic references and placement experiences from it. Should I wait until I'm done this program to reapply?

Otherwise if I reapply this year, my potential "weaker" references for the CAF would be:

- A supervisor from a food service job (known for only 4 months, of which I've been employed with for 7 months)

- A college professor that I took one course with and excelled in (not sure if college vs. university academic references also make a difference?)

- A supervisor from an organization I volunteered remotely with for 3 months

Thanks, hope everyone is staying safe! :)

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Not clear whether you think the references provided were themselves weak/lukewarm and this contributed to your rejection, or whether you have gotten a sign that the referees seem weary about continuing to help (for example, delayed responses to requests compared to previous).

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Hi,

You should certainly apply. You should also not feel shy about asking referees to send LORs again and again. It took me several times before I got in. They were always happy to help. As a future staff I would do the same happily for the people I believed in. I empathize with the particular situation you are in, please inbox me if you have more questions regarding applications. I am from Quebec though but did apply and interview in Ontario.

Re: LORs, I don't know how Ontario schools specifically use them however:

- Service job LOR can be a strong one. Issue with this is sometimes they are not accustomed to writing LORs and may need more help with it. Perhaps you could offer them to ask you questions or an example, or suggest some points to touch on.

- Class you took and got an A on: you are right that this is weak. Cannot comment on you as a person, ethic, character. I remember when I was applying I asked one just because I needed an extra number (US school asked LOR from a prof with which I took a class). Prof declined as he felt he did not have much to say about me. He was right.

-Remote volunteering: highly depends, but possibly similar issue as #2. It's better when your referee knows you a little.

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