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The prof is quite famous (lots of publications and even a Wiki page). His doctoral advisor is also quite famous (still is part of the faculty of the university that I want to apply to). Would a recommendation letter have a significant impact on my application?

Alternatively I can get a letter from another prof which will be probably a little stronger. Which option would be the best for me? Basically would the other prof's letter carry more weight since he got his PhD from the university I am applying to.

I am applying to a top 3 institution, (if that makes any difference).

Thank you all in advance.

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2 Answers 2

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As a tiebreaker, it might be nice to have a strong letter from someone who went to the target university, especially if it has a highly specialized or unconventional program.

However, yours is not such a marginal case. You stand to benefit more by getting a letter from a professor who knows you closely and can say positive things about your research ability.

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If the professor can truly vouch for your skills, knowledge and motivation then fine.

So if you have attended a course given by that professor then yes. Otherwise I would say no, as you should use referrees that can vouch for your attributes, and not use someone as a referee « just because they went there ».

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  • I have done 2 courses with that prof (earned highest grade possible), but the only problem is that I haven't done any research with him.
    – Reid
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 5:55

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