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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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76 votes
7 answers
50k 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 ...
hesson's user avatar
  • 1,052
43 votes
6 answers
12k 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. ...
Bravo's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
xji's user avatar
  • 335
79 votes
5 answers
95k 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 ...
Yes's user avatar
  • 7,684
54 votes
5 answers
23k 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 ...
Abe's user avatar
  • 3,305
12 votes
4 answers
136k 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 ...
Robert.Li's user avatar
  • 123
28 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
Kta's user avatar
  • 588
61 votes
4 answers
35k 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 ...
Bravo's user avatar
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23 votes
3 answers
89k 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 ...
bingung's user avatar
  • 3,567
17 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
Googlebot's user avatar
  • 7,655
12 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
meerkat67984001's user avatar
50 votes
5 answers
15k 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 ...
SuperHeroY's user avatar
  • 1,007
44 votes
1 answer
26k 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 ...
Scott Seidman's user avatar
34 votes
5 answers
17k 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 ...
user6670's user avatar
  • 634
31 votes
9 answers
12k 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 ...
kkou's user avatar
  • 311
18 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
bingung's user avatar
  • 3,567
11 votes
3 answers
39k 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 ...
kitty's user avatar
  • 1,495
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Selecting references for PhD applications: are industry references OK?

My background: Final year computer science undergraduate in the UK. Spent one year working in a scientific facility developing software for scientists. My colleagues had previous academic experience (...
J Lem's user avatar
  • 81
29 votes
1 answer
7k 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?
David Ketcheson's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
questionasker's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Anthony's user avatar
  • 838
17 votes
4 answers
790 views

How widespread is the practice of delegating LoR writing to the applicant?

At least two questions (1, 2) on this site indicate that in more than a few isolated cases at least, letters of recommendation are in fact written by the applicant and only signed off (or perhaps ...
henning no longer feeds AI's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
InquilineKea's user avatar
  • 10.8k
10 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
ithisa's user avatar
  • 315
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Value of recommendation letters from professors in a different field

I will be a second year math under-grad in September, and currently doing an internship at applied math research institute. However, my interest after my bachelors is to do PhD in pure math at a top ...
math's user avatar
  • 636
5 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Lucas's user avatar
  • 667
4 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Anonymous's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
462 views

Who to ask for letters of recommendations?

I am an undergrad from a pretty unknown Asian university and I would be applying to PhD programs (mostly US) in pure mathematics this application cycle. However, my major is physics and my intention ...
Snowy Penguin's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
6k views

Can late recommendation letters have a negative impact on grad school application?

I am currently applying to some graduate programs. The schools I am applying to have all required recommendation letters from 3 people, and for many of the schools, the application deadline was today. ...
Freya's user avatar
  • 315
0 votes
1 answer
983 views

Professor not responding to my mails after earlier discussions

I have applied to a professor from another university - and from another country, in case that is relevant - about doing my undergraduate thesis under him. He said he liked my profile and asked me ...
James Bond's user avatar
213 votes
14 answers
41k 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-...
Anonymous_professor's user avatar
34 votes
10 answers
17k 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 ...
Kaya311's user avatar
  • 684
27 votes
5 answers
9k 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 ...
user64774's user avatar
  • 449
27 votes
3 answers
14k 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. ...
user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
robinson's user avatar
  • 351
20 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
aeismail's user avatar
  • 174k
19 votes
3 answers
143k views

How can I get a reference letter if I was never "close" to any professors?

I am currently thinking about getting a masters degree and many of the schools I look for require 3 reference letters from professors that has taught me. Unfortunately, I've never really invested ...
Rufus's user avatar
  • 673
18 votes
7 answers
7k 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 ...
user10694's user avatar
  • 1,639
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Two different recommenders asked me to draft my own recommendation letter for my faculty application. How to distinguish the two?

I am applying to faculty positions and two of the people I asked to be my references requested me to provide a draft of the recommendation letter. I am in a STEM field. Is this common practice even ...
Camil's user avatar
  • 171
8 votes
2 answers
9k views

Recommendation Letter Request: No response

I am applying to graduate school, and I am having a problem with recommendation letters. I need three recommendation letters with two of them being academic reference letters. Honestly, last year, I ...
user44480's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 3,175
78 votes
6 answers
22k 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 ...
SSimon's user avatar
  • 3,669
48 votes
5 answers
38k views

Writing a letter of recommendation for a mediocre student

A former student has asked me to write a letter of recommendation. I am always quite happy to do so -- but in this case it's hard to find much to say. The student took two classes with me and earned ...
mweiss's user avatar
  • 2,131
33 votes
5 answers
16k views

How to write a reference request for a candidate that I see unfit for the application?

This question is a bit different from this question: What to do if asked to write a letter of recommendation for a weak candidate? Instead of not knowing the student well enough, I know the student ...
ceoec's user avatar
  • 621
30 votes
3 answers
16k views

I'm changing PhD programs, and I got a terrible recomendation letter form my advisor. I found out by accident. What do I do now? I'm shocked

I’ll try to not be too specific for the sake of anonymity. I’m a STEM PhD student at one of the top-15 universities in the US. My own advisor said that I did great academically and made good progress ...
VroomVroom123's user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
22k 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 ...
Alyssa88's user avatar
  • 651
26 votes
4 answers
10k views

If you have no choice, is it acceptable to translate a recommendation letter for yourself?

Inspired by the question Is it acceptable to write a reference letter for yourself? I have a related but somewhat different question: Given no choice, is it acceptable to write a recommendation ...
Nobody's user avatar
  • 13.8k
23 votes
9 answers
9k views

I can't trust my supervisor anymore, but have to have his letter of recommendation. What should I do?

Background I did my masters research project with Prof X. While doing this I joined his lab, where he used to ask me to do random tasks i.e. taking part in different projects, conducting lectures to ...
Ray's user avatar
  • 487
22 votes
5 answers
9k views

Is it generally acceptable if reference letters for postdoc or faculty jobs are submitted after the application deadline?

I am currently applying for post-doctoral and asst. professorship positions. One of my letter writer is most likely to submit the letter a week late. Some of the positions I am applying to clearly ...
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