third lor

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third lor

Post by govsunset » Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:47 pm

hello all,

i am applying to phd programs this fall and i have accrued two solid letters of recommendation from two professors i have conducted research with directly for the last year and a half. one prof i have published a paper with and the other is supervising my senior thesis. i am however having trouble deciding what to do for my last letter of rec. i have a few options:

1. try to get close with a professor i am taking a class with this semester and ask them for a letter. my plan is to just show up to all office hours and ask questions in class and get them to really know me.

2. i am involved in a mathematics reading program this semester and am working directly under a mathematics graduate student and i could ask them for the letter. they would probably know me better than a class professor but have significantly less status as opposed to a prof.

3. i am close to a very high ranking individual at my university and i could ask them. they are not involved with physics in any way, but he is very high up in the university administration and carries a very important title. i know he would write me a glowing letter speaking on my character and work ethic, but unfortunately nothing about physics.

please let me know which route you think would mean the most to an admissions committee.

thanks !

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Re: third lor

Post by Nishikata » Fri Aug 20, 2021 5:49 am

Worry about choices when they are available for certain. You do not have option number 1 yet, because the semester hasn't started. You do not know how his/her impression of your questions and office hour visits yet, or whether he/she can write you a good letter. Regardless, It's good to show up during office hours and understand better the subject. Anyway, you can only consider this option after you have this option available later.

Similarly for number 2, but you are closer here. I will suggest to first talk with the graduate students and ask if they can link you up with their supervisors. If things go well, their supervisors can write you a letter based on the graduate students' inputs. I will recommend this route if you have to choose from the three options.

No. 3 is not likely to be useful for a research input. Character references aren't quite the thing sought after in graduate recommendation letters. they are good to have in a research recommendation as a bonus, but they are not sufficient on their own.

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