Are they required?

Yes. They will let you know, but the majority of schools require 2 to 3.

Whom should I ask?

The best letters come from professors and employers. Political figures, family friends, judges, lawyers, etc. are not especially helpful and may even be frowned upon in some instances. The only exception, of course, is if you worked closely with them rather than just happen to know them. That rule of thumb applies to all letters – the better the person knows you, the better off you are!

What if I’m not close with any of my professors?

It’s better late than never. We have seen some cases where a student was nearing the end of their semester and still didn’t have any letters. He was honest with his professor about his situation, and the two arranged a meeting to discuss the recommendation in person. We realize, however, that not everyone will be as helpful as this example. In that case, if you had a closer relationship with a T.A., approaching them about the letter would be a good alternative.


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