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My good friend and I coauthored a paper that was accepted at a major research conference. He works in industry and has now decided to apply for PhD programs. He asked that I write him a letter of recommendation because I am most familiar with his academic strengths and research work. I've been working on research level problems with him for the past 3 years.

Question: Can I write him a letter of recommendation even though I am only a PhD student?

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Can you write it?

Yes.

Will it be worth much?

No.

An ideal letter of recommendation (for schools in the USA) will talk about the candidate's ability to do doctoral-level research from the vantage point of someone who has supervised students through the various stages of their career. While your letter will be better than one from their priest or their coach, it still won't count tremendously in their favor.

Unless this person's only other option is his priest or coach, I'd suggest that you decline.

  • 1
    Ah, you might want to put that info in your original question. – RoboKaren Nov 17 '15 at 5:14
  • Thank you for the suggestion. I didn't think all the details were necessary until after I started reading all the existing threads. – Michael Wehar Nov 17 '15 at 5:15
  • 1
    No worries, I modified my answer to make my locale clearer. You can edit your question to do the same. – RoboKaren Nov 17 '15 at 5:16

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