Third letter of recommendation help

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Third letter of recommendation help

Post by LGaunt » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Right now I have 2 great letters of recommendation from my research advisers. I am having a little bit of trouble deciding about the third letter.

One option is that there is a third professor in my group, however I rarely talk to him. Also I am not too sure how wise it would be to have all three letters coming from the professors in the same research group. I asked a nuclear engineering professor who I know well to write me a letter, but he is concerned that his letter will not be as strong since he is not a physics prof. He said that he would gladly write me one if needed. Another option is that the chair of undergrad studies will write a letter talking about the strength of the department's program and the strength of your academic progress. I am not too sure how great it would be, since I attend a well known, large state research university.

I am strongly leaning towards using the NE professor, since I have taken a few classes with him and have talked to him outside of class. I think it would be hard to make a similar contact this quarter in physics. I am a little worried though, because I didn't think that him not being in physics would be an issue (basically thought that anyone in a STEM field would be OK). Since I have a mediocre GPA (3.5), I am trying to strengthen the other parts of my application as much as possible. I will be applying mainly to Applied Physics programs.


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Re: Third letter of recommendation help

Post by bfollinprm » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:48 pm

The department chair is always a nice resource if you don't have any other options--maybe you can ask him to offer a survey of the faculty's opinion of you as well as speak to the strength of the department. If the NE prof is saying he wouldn't be the best choice, I'd take him at his word, though are you sure he understands you're applying to applied physics? My SO had a nuclear engineer as one of her letter writers for applied maths, and she got into pretty much everywhere (and it probably was due to that letter).

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Re: Third letter of recommendation help

Post by WhoaNonstop » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:33 am

The engineering professor wouldn't be a bad reference for applied programs. I wouldn't go with the third professor in the same research group though.


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