Questions tagged [recommendation-letter]

Questions on recommendation or reference letters received from faculty members when applying for graduate schools or faculty positions.

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63
votes
7answers
36k views

Is it acceptable to write a reference letter for yourself?

If a student needs a reference letter for graduate admissions or that sort of thing, some profs will ask the student to write a reference letter for themself before sending it off to the prof for ...
39
votes
6answers
9k views

Points to remember when having to write recommendation letter yourself

While it is an unethical academic practice, it is a fact that most recommendation letters for MS degrees in US and Europe from countries like India and China are written by students themselves. ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Does it make sense for the professor to write a recommendation letter that is directly readable by the student?

It seems that US universities usually provide a link to the professor of the applicant, and let him/her directly upload the recommendation letter to that link, meaning that the student would have no ...
74
votes
5answers
63k views

What does it mean if a professor asks you to draft his reference letter for you?

This question is, honestly speaking, probably somewhat opinion-based, but I still want to give a shot. A professor acceded to my invitation of writing a reference letter for me. Nevertheless, unlike ...
12
votes
4answers
101k views

No response from Professor; how should I remind him about writing a recommendation for me?

I'm applying to a BS/MS program and I'm gathering recommendations. I'm an international student from China and I was transferred to my current college last year. Two weeks ago, I went to see my ...
54
votes
5answers
19k views

How to handle not having my PhD advisor as a reference?

I received my PhD in 2009 and my adviser will not provide a good recommendation for me. This is mostly because we have fundamentally different approaches to science, and in retrospect I see that I ...
16
votes
3answers
8k views

Who should write a recommendation letter?

When applying for a faculty position (from assistant to full professor), the search committee asks for 3 - 5 recommendation letters by people who know the applicant professionally (and probably in ...
56
votes
4answers
28k views

Should I waive my right to view my recommendation letters?

Most graduate applications provide a choice for applicants to view their recommendation letters at a later date. There is a mention of some US mandate alongside. Is it a better option to forgo this ...
30
votes
9answers
10k views

What if my professor writes me a negative LOR, in order to keep me working with him?

I am a undergrad student, and I am currently conducting summer research under a professor. During our last meeting, I have revealed that I wish to go to school A for my graduate study. But my prof ...
11
votes
3answers
33k views

Why can't friends or family members write recommendation letters for graduate admissions?

When browsing their web sites, I noticed that apart from those listed academic requirements by different universities, they all require at least two reference letters from applicants, but they did not ...
25
votes
2answers
8k views

Writing a letter of recommendation as a graduate student

I am a MA student who frequently works with undergraduates on projects. One student has asked me if I can write her a letter of recommendation for graduate school. Are there any risks to me submitting ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Recommendation letter from a PhD-to-be?

I am applying for Master programs in Educational and Clinical Psychology. And I am in the process of choosing people for writing my recommendation letters. I have a BA in Psychology and I wasn't much ...
38
votes
1answer
18k views

How do I effectively solicit a strong letter of recommendation from a professor?

I have been asked to write many letters of recommendation over many years. In some cases, the requesters have made this task easy and enjoyable, and others, less so. I'd like to offer some guidelines ...
33
votes
5answers
13k views

How frequently can you ask for a personal reference without being disrespectful?

When applying for post-doctoral and faculty positions you are typically asked for three (sometimes more) reference letters to support your application. Given that it is competitive out there, it ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Does a recommendation have to be from a professor from your university?

Suppose I want to get letter of recommendation for a PhD program. Could this letter be from someone not from my institution? Could is be from someone I have collaborated with online? Or generally do ...
27
votes
1answer
6k views

What to do if asked to write a letter of recommendation for a weak candidate?

How should a professor proceed when a student or colleague asks for a letter of recommendation and the professor does not have a high opinion of that person?
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Protocol for writing a recommendation letter for someone you only know on a personal basis

I am a graduate student. A close friend of mine is applying to post graduate research position and has asked me to provide a recommendation for her. I have never written a formal recommendation letter ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

On giving gifts to LOR writers

Should one give gifts to those who one's close to, or those who one generally doesn't interact with very much? If the professors who wrote my LORs seem reluctant to meet me again for some reason (not ...
47
votes
6answers
12k views

Should I get a letter of recommendation from my mother, who is a famous researcher in my field?

My mother is a quite famous researcher (she has a PhD) on the field I want to do a PhD in. She works on the industry (not academia). I helped her on successful projects. She knows more about my work ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

What can I do one day before admissions deadline, if I believe my recommendation letter writer will not submit in time?

One of my professors this term promised to write me a recommendation letter for grad school. However, tomorrow is the deadline and her letter is not on the application website. She really liked me, so ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I ask a postdoc who has closely supervised my research to write me a letter of recommendation?

When I apply to a PhD program, may I ask a postdoc who closely supervised me to write a recommendation letter? My supervisor also has written one for me, but I believe the postdoc can comment on my ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Letter of recommendation from Post-Doc or Professor

I was guided by a Post-Doc for my undergraduate thesis, but the one responsible for all and offering the thesis was a Professor, who I only talked to when discussing the thesis, agreeing to it, and ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

How do I make sure I get strong recommendation letters for faculty positions?

I would like to ask Prof. X, a distinguished scholar at a top school, for a recommendation for a tenure-track academic position. However, I only want him to write me a recommendation if he is going to ...
33
votes
9answers
13k views

Professor didn't write a letter because I didn't waive my right to view it. How to let him know that I have changed this?

I'm applying to UIUC and have asked 3 of my professors to write me recommendation letters. One professor, who I discussed my application with before extensively, wrote back to me after I was done with ...
3
votes
2answers
722 views

How to secure recommendations and apply for PhD after having worked outside of academia for two years?

I have been working in a big-shot multi-national corporation as a developer for two years now, with a possible future as a software architect in some eight to ten years. Now I want to enroll in a PhD ...
21
votes
3answers
69k views

If I cannot get sufficient recommendation letters, what can I do?

I know you should build a good network with your professors as early as possible, not only it will help your study, but also you can get great recommendation letter from them. But not all students ...
26
votes
3answers
11k views

Professor refusing to write recommendation letter to make student work longer

My friend is on his way to graduate with PharmD (outside US). He wants to apply for PhD program in US, and have asked his professors that he has worked with in the lab for recommendation letters. ...
3
votes
2answers
21k views

How to proceed if a professor does not answer the request for letter of recommendation?

I have written an email to a professor asking him for a letter of recommendation. It's been almost a week and he didn't answer back. I have already seen questions on this topic here, saying that when ...
26
votes
5answers
7k views

How do you write a letter of recommendation for someone who got an A in your class, but who you've never talked to outside of class?

I taught a large class last summer, and one of my students asked me to write a letter of recommendation. I said yes, and at this point I think it is too late in the application process to change my ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Asked to draft own recommendation letter for faculty application

I am applying to faculty positions and two of the people I asked to be my references requested me to draft the recommendation letter. I am in a STEM field. Is this common practice even when applying ...
8
votes
3answers
26k views

Sending a second reminder to a professor about LORs, after the first reminder

As graduate school application deadlines roll around this season, I believe this site would get a lot of questions concerning letters of recommendation, including sending reminder e-mails to ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is having five letters of recommendation for STEM PhD programs (math, specifically) ok?

I know the minimum number of reference letters required at many U.S. PhD programs in the STEM fields is three -- and that it is also not uncommon for someone to submit a fourth letter. What about a ...
20
votes
2answers
727 views

How much customization of letters of recommendation is necessary?

While I know that students are encouraged to "tailor" their applications to the particular school or program they're applying to, does the same hold true for the people writing letters of ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Do I need recommendation letters from supervisors if I have a master's?

Applying for 2018-9 admissions (Missed 2017-8 admissions). Got master's applied math. Want PhD in pure math. How applicable is the following (source) a recommendation from someone who only taught a ...
198
votes
14answers
33k views

Writing a recommendation letter for a student I reported for academic dishonesty

A few years ago, I reported a student for academic dishonesty (in a graduate-level mathematics course, they were copying solutions off the internet, nearly verbatim). After acknowledging their wrong-...
13
votes
1answer
4k views

How to reduce the load of professors writing recommendation letters for graduate school application?

If a student can't decide which school to apply at one time, and different schools have different' deadlines, how could the student do to reduce the load of professors writing recommendation letters ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Changing PhD programs: should I submit a recommendation letter from my old advisor if it's not purely positive?

I am in the process of changing PhD programs, and my previous supervisor cannot write a letter that is purely positive. The main difficulty is that she wants to include details about what happened at ...
8
votes
2answers
9k views

Can I apply for PhD without recommendation from my masters advisor?

I am currently applying for a PhD in a very competitive top tier university, which requires three references. I have two referees (my tutor and my undergraduate research project supervisor) who I am ...
76
votes
6answers
19k views

Is it ethical to use a recommendation letter from a deceased professor?

She was a really nice professor and she wrote me a good recommendation letter that resulted in a lot of good results with applications. Recently, this professor died from brain cancer, which was a ...
31
votes
2answers
5k views

My advisor refuses to write me a recommendation for my PhD application unless I apply to his lab

I got my master’s degree in China and had worked for two years as a visiting student in the US. Although my master thesis’s supervisor promised to write me a recommendation letter, my visiting student ...
22
votes
3answers
7k views

Will a recommendation letter such as that written for John F. Nash be convincing?

I noticed in the book "A Beautiful Mind", by Sylvia Nasar, that a recommendation letter, for PhD applications, written for John F. Nash runs as follows: This man is a genius. Then, out of curiosity, ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

When changing fields from undergrad to PhD, which department should recommendation letters come from?

I am a physics undergrad who has worked with profs mostly on areas in Quantum field theory, string theory. However, my interests have changed slightly over the areas, and now I want to pursue a PhD in ...
30
votes
5answers
17k views

Professor wrote me a letter of recommendation, but sent it to both me and the institute

So after all these crazy days of trying to finish my application and encouraging professors to finish the letters of recommendations (LORs) for me, there is the next thing - my professor sent the ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

Is it appropriate for a PhD student to write reference for a PhD applicant?

I am a PhD student, and was recently approached by a (very bright) student in an exercise class I teach, requesting a reference letter for his PhD application. This makes me wonder: Is it OK for a PhD ...
16
votes
1answer
4k views

Is it a good idea to submit a recommendation letter from a friend who is doing PhD at the university I am going to apply?

I got a friend who is doing PhD at one of the prestigious universities. Two and half years back we were classmates in graduate studies. I have good relations with him. I started working for industry ...
16
votes
7answers
6k views

Because of past conflicts, I don't believe my advisor will write me a good LOR for postdoc positions. What should I do?

How essential is having my advisor's letter for post doc application? I had a pretty bad relationship with my advisor for more than 4 years since I joined his lab and sometimes the relationship ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How to obtain a fair recommendation letter from a professor who knows me via course, not research?

The normal case is that students should obtain a recommendation letter for graduate school from the professor under whom the student has performed research. Currently, I am taking a course conducted ...
14
votes
4answers
705 views

Would it be okay to provide a template when asking reference?

I am applying for grad school this year and I am considering sending an email to ask a professor to write me a reference. He had previously agreed to write me a letter because I took one of his ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Who to ask for letters of recommendation when changing fields after PhD?

I want to apply to competitive postdoc programs in a different field than the one of my PhD. It asks for 3 recommendation letters. What to do if none of my collaborators is well-known in the target ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

My adviser agreed to write a letter of recommendation, but hasn't done so

I am currently a M.Sc. student and I was planning to apply for PhD programs. I asked my adviser to write me a letter of recommendation two months ago, and he agreed to do that. However, now that the ...