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149 votes

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

The best option is: Don't write the letter. In a case like this, I would outright refuse to provide a recommendation. However, if you are not comfortable with a non-negotiable refusal, you might ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 20.6k
141 votes

Difficult student would dispute every grade in the course and now wants letter of recommendation

It sounds like you've agreed to write a letter so I think you are committed unless the student releases you from your commitment. (Personally, I'd have said no in the first place and explained if ...
Nicole Hamilton's user avatar
131 votes

Would it be rude to ask a famous professor who doesn't know me personally for a recommendation letter if I have published in a high ranking journal?

The benefit of recommendation letters is that they give insight into abilities that are not reflected in the rest of your application. Your grades and your publication are already in your application. ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
125 votes

A student who asked me to write a rec letter seems to have committed academic dishonesty in my class, what do I do?

You agreed to write this letter, and it is due tomorrow (!). Reneging on your promise would effectively torpedo the student's applications, as they are very unlikely to find another recommender on one ...
cag51's user avatar
  • 70k
121 votes
Accepted

Retract an already submitted recommendation letter (written for an undergrad student)

I think you should do nothing. (Nothing with respect to the letter, that is. You may of course want to consider intervening with the student as you would with any other student whose performance ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
118 votes

Why do Americans care so much about recommendation letters?

I think Bryan's answer gives a nice perspective on the issue. A perfect system does not exist, and different continents have developed different (imperfect) ways of dealing with the fundamental ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 136k
114 votes
Accepted

Should I write that a student is a feminist in my recommendation letter?

First of all, your title doesn't quite match the rest of your question. In your suggested quote you write "she is very interested in advancing women and other minorities in the STEM field," whereas ...
Pete L. Clark's user avatar
107 votes
Accepted

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

I would say no, this is a very very bad idea. Your mother going on about how likely you are to succeed will probably not carry much weight. What else would your mother say? If you were unlikely to be ...
xxxxxxxxx's user avatar
  • 6,147
104 votes
Accepted

Professor refuses to write a recommendation letter to students who haven't written a research paper with him

I wanted to ask whether his refusal for recommendation letters is reasonable My personal opinion is that if you worked in his lab for a year (satisfactorily), it is unreasonable to refuse a letter. ...
cag51's user avatar
  • 70k
102 votes
Accepted

Asking my Professor to create a Google Account to submit a Letter of Recommendation for me

My best guess, and just a guess, is that he was frustrated with the system that was required, rather than with you. It is probably a mistake for any admissions system to require an email address from ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
101 votes
Accepted

Emailing a professor for points on an exam when you want a recommendation from the professor

Let it go. You discussed this before, he made his arguments and it is unlikely that he will change his mind. It isn't only up to you to make a good argument for the points, but the professor himself ...
allo's user avatar
  • 3,605
98 votes
Accepted

Would a professor write a bad letter of recommendation?

I would read these responses as: "I am happy to write you a letter of recommendation, I am busy, and just want know where to send my letter". As a professor, I get literally hundreds of emails ...
James Mitchell's user avatar
96 votes

Why should a P.I be motivated to write a strong LOR even if that means losing a undergraduate from his/her lab?

When I am evaluating a research group leader, one of the most important things I examine is where their former students work. If their former undergraduates have moved to PhD programs at excellent ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
96 votes

How to avoid writing a 'good but not great' reference letter

Here's a possible strategy. Acknowledge the potential difficulty recommending across cultures - something like Rereading my letter, I am concerned that I have used too few superlatives describing [...
Ethan Bolker's user avatar
93 votes
Accepted

Reconnecting with a previous professor then asking right away for a reference letter

You are not “reconnecting”. You are emailing someone to ask for a letter of reference. This is normal and expected. It’s not guaranteed that they’ll say yes, but no one will think any less of you for ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 192k
91 votes
Accepted

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

TL; DR: The student probably wants you to write a letter to mitigate the harm of the incident because they already expect admissions committees to know about it. In that case, mention it briefly and ...
1006a's user avatar
  • 3,717
90 votes
Accepted

After admission, should I thank a recommender who I suspect wrote a bad letter?

Yes, you should thank and inform your letter writer, and no, you shouldn't worry about some bizarre and unrealistic "re-evaluation" of your admission. Comments: It is very unlikely that your writer ...
Raghu Parthasarathy's user avatar
89 votes
Accepted

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

If I cared enough about a person to write a letter of recommendation, I would be pleased to think that one day after I am gone that the person could use my letter for their benefit. You will possibly ...
MEC's user avatar
  • 1,240
87 votes

How to deal with abusive professor?

I am sorry for your experience. Regarding the naming issue, I think that it is alright and no one will comment about it. You do not have to email that person again. Regarding the publication, You ...
Delsayed's user avatar
  • 551
87 votes

Difficult student would dispute every grade in the course and now wants letter of recommendation

Is there perhaps a cultural element to this situation? I was once in the reverse situation: I was studying mathematics at an Australian university, but my professor was Russian. He marked all ...
G_B's user avatar
  • 10.3k
85 votes

Writing letter of recommendation for someone I have never met

You shouldn't write a letter of recommendation for someone you have spoken to once, and you certainly shouldn't write a letter of recommendation for a friend of some you have spoken to once. You ...
Ian Sudbery's user avatar
  • 40.3k
84 votes

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

I attach letters of recommendation from Dr W and the late Professor X. Perfectly reasonable. The point is, it's courteous to refer to the deceased as the late Professor X to prevent confusion or ...
Colonel Panic's user avatar
83 votes

Gofer work in exchange for Letter of Recommendation

It’s appropriate to ask for a letter, but completely inappropriate to offer a thing of value in exchange. Professors are already paid to do their job, which includes writing letters of recommendation, ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 192k
82 votes
Accepted

Reference letter without permission

As the student’s supervisor, it is your duty not to “help him get the job” but rather to act in a supervisory role, and that includes giving your honest opinion about the student to anyone he requests ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 192k
81 votes

What do I do if I cannot give a good reference to my PhD student?

A student who did the minimum during their PhD has very little chance of getting a prestigious fellowship. In the sciences, you must have publications to get prestigious fellowships; a student who ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
79 votes

Writing a letter of recommendation for a mediocre student

Before you write the letter, discuss this with the student, and be blunt about it. Most likely the student needs a letter for something and this is the best they've got. One thing is to turn this in ...
JoshuaZ's user avatar
  • 6,465
78 votes
Accepted

Is there a reasonable explanation for why my professor submitted my recommendation letter months early?

The busy professor wants to get it off their plate ASAP, so they don't waste brain-cycles needing to remember it, see it on a to-do list, or potentially miss the deadline. There's nothing to worry ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
75 votes

Why do Americans care so much about recommendation letters?

Do you have any actual data to support your assertions like these?: it matters less who you are and what you can actually do, but more how many professors you are able to suck up to. Reference ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
75 votes

Should I take a "positive, but not enthusiastically strong" letter of recommendation?

a professor that I spoke to said that he could write a "positive, but not enthusiastically strong" recommendation This sounds like a polite way to tell you to ask somebody else.
Guillaume's user avatar
  • 1,179
75 votes

Is it inappropriate to contact my Master’s supervisor on Facebook or Instagram for a reference while she’s on maternity leave?

This is from an American perspective, not a British one, but absolutely do not message her on Facebook or Instagram! Especially if you have not been in touch for two years. I would never consider ...
Azor Ahai -him-'s user avatar

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