I want to apply for a graduate program in Computer Science and need a Letter of Recommendation to complete my application.

While thinking about who I could ask to write the letter I came up with two people: One is a full professor and has a lot of reputation but knows me only from some oral exams (where we had some good talks even beside the exam topics) and crowded lectures where he couldn't really take notice of me.

The other one holds a Ph.D. in CS but is no longer involved in research. However, he holds advanced lectures in the field I'm interested (and am applying for). Usually we are about ten persons in his lectures and he knows me very well from asking questions during the lecture and so on. When he's asking a question to the audience and I raise my hand, he usually says that he knows I know it and wants others to answer it.

I'm unsure if I should aks the full professor with a lot of reputation or the lecturer who knows me much better but has much less reputation, to write a letter for me.

  • 1
    Usually multiple rec letters are part of the application, so why not ask both?
    – Thomas
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:30
  • @Thomas You are right and as usual I need more than one letter (exactly two) but have already asked another full professor who knows me well and has a good reputation.
    – dtell
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:33
  • 3
    Another thing to keep in mind is that you ideally want variety in the letters. So ask yourself who can best complement what the other letter says.
    – Thomas
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:36
  • This is a really good point! Thank you @Thomas!
    – dtell
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


The more a person knows of you, the more positive things they will have at their disposal to write about. As you explain it, your second option knows about your skills and probably could redact a great recommendation letter.

That being said, I do not think that it hurts to ask both. If both agree, you can submit both letters

  • The number of letters required is specified to be two. I already have one letter and fell that I should not submit more than specified. Submitting both letters (therefore three in total) is not an option for me.
    – dtell
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:35
  • I'm not aware of any program that looks down at receiving more than specified letters of recommendation, especially when they are from people in the field who have worked directly with you in the past. That said, you can't send in 100 letters from your friends from High School of course but I think you get the idea. Jan 31, 2018 at 16:00

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