I want two of my letters to come from individuals I did research with (at different times) but neither has taught me or has a full professor title - one is adjunct and the other is a scientist at a university-affiliated lab. I think my academic advisor (the schoolwide kind not the department-specific kind) would write the best third letter and it might provide a different perspective from the other two.

Is it better to forego one of these recommendations from people who know me really well in favor of a professor who doesn't know me as well?

2 Answers 2


Letters from "lower-status" people but who've really seen you doing the thing (rather than taking classes in "the thing") are infinitely better than (routine) letters from routine-coursework instructors, regardless of their status.


You want writers who can provide a compelling letter. I advise students to ask the professor first 'do you feel you can write a compelling letter?' Usually they'll tell you if not. I also recommend putting together a prospectus of your accomplishments to help them write one. Having a writer with full professor status (vs assistant or associate) is less important than the content.

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