New answers tagged

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Broadly speaking selection for PhD's these days is fundamentally premised on completion risk: a good risk is someone who looks like they are: Eligible to apply; Adequately prepared* for the demands of the program; In the case of research degrees - able to complete the research proposed given the time and resources available; Likely to produce quality* work (...


1

When it is clear as is the case here that the professor is more interested in their success than your success, it time to look for another mentor. It is perfectly legitimate for undergrads to look around to broaden their research horizons. Indeed, if a professor is sufficiently secure to believe their work is very interesting, she or he will not fear ...


24

When I write letters for undergrads (in math, in the U.S.), I usually aim to speak exactly and only about things I know from first-hand experience. For that matter, transcripts (whether high-GPA or low) are usually part of the application, so second-hand comments from me add little. Now and then, I am surprised to learn that a student of whom I think quite ...


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This answer may be limited to the US and other places where letters of recommendation have quite a bit of importance. I realize that this isn't a universal. If you think that a student is performing beyond what the grades would indicate you could, and should, say that. You don't need to explain bad grades, nor assume that the student's chances are lessened ...


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To add onto other answers, especially @Buffy, I will share my recent experience as a graduate student in a similar situation. I will highlight where the conflict arose, and how you might proceed. The Situation It was about February when I started preparing an application for a well-known, although by no means 'prestigious' summer research internship/...


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I'd try to find another professor Whether or not you were rude, your professor acted in a way that is totally unacceptable. He betrayed your trust by sharing your private correspondence publicly, and he publicly shamed you in a very passive aggressive way. If it were me, I'd find another professor as soon as possible. He sounds like a sociopath. If you can't ...


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Speaking as a postdoc: as others have suggested, there are some very good reasons to diversify your network - and you have run into one of them. Explain yourself, and give the prof a chance to explain and apologize. Try not to burn any bridges with him, but start looking elsewhere immediately. That he forwarded your email to everyone in the lab group ...


11

It's at least a little rude to send a request for a recommendation letter without mentioning your plans. Of course, forwarding your email to the whole group is orders of magnitude ruder. He had previously wrote, 2 months ago, that he was happy to write me a recommendation letter. For any summer internships, or did he maybe think you were asking about grad ...


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Tell him that you do intend to participate as previously agreed, but that funding for the summer was an important consideration. If he is at all reasonable, then that should be enough. If he is offended, then he isn't being reasonable. If he offers you summer funding, then consider that, of course, but he should have little controlling say over a volunteer. ...


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From the information you provide, your request looks reasonable. This is probably just a misunderstanding, and definitely a terrible (over)reaction from the prof: sending your private email to other lab members is not done. Talk to your prof. (as soon as possible) to find out what happened.


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I would put this as a comment, but I'm under 50 reputation, so here goes. The first three professors you mentioned sound like your best bet. Thesis advisors can vouch for your ability to do mathematical research, which is the primary skill that phd programs are looking for. It is not uncommon for people to ask professors who they only had for a class, though ...


4

First, I agree completely with Arno's answer here. The logic from that answer applies to these questions as well. Specifically... Should I email the professors which will be sending letter of recommendation [and tell them] what I have been doing since I completed my masters in June 2020? (It would only list topics I have studied till now)? Those reviewing ...


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If you talk or write to anyone about depression or family problems, make it a mental health professional. They can provide actual help. But as for contacting potential letter writers, bringing them up to date, include not only what courses or other study you have done since they last interacted more directly with you, but also something of your future plans ...


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A letter of reference is what the professors want to say about you as a potential researcher. Not about your grades, courses etc. You can of course tell them about your problems, but I highly doubt that they will include such information in the letter. It would be awkward if they did. On the other hand, your CV is also not the place for these personal ...


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This is a tricky one. In my opinion, informing the people responsible for giving out letters is always the right thing to do. Let them know what happened, what you did, what you are currently working on. That is a must. Talking about mental health and difficulties you faced is correct when you can make sure it does not seem like a pity call rather proving ...


17

Ignore it. Speaking of unethical behavior, I think it’s borderline unethical to draw conclusions from the irrelevant information in the letter, which are quite obviously unwarranted, the way you are doing in your example. Many people work remotely these days, why would you assume anything about the relevance of there being or not being hedge funds in your ...


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What you are asking for is impossible because Academia varies. Letter-collecting practices can vary between departments, degree programs, and supervisors. They can also change over time.


4

The job applicant's family is irrelevant to your hiring decisions. Always ignore information about the applicant's family, no matter where it comes from. Asking the letter writer for more irrelevant information, or criticizing the letter writer, both seem rude or at least not helpful.


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In your position I would (try to) ignore the extraneous information. Perhaps well after the hiring decision is made you could say something to the letter writer in an informal way. I don't know whether I would. A lot depends on the tone and the details that you have (correctly) disguised.


2

I would do a couple of things. First, see if you can quickly organize a different recommender. Maybe futile, but it might work. Long term it might be useful to have a backup in any case. Second, but simultaneously, inform the university to which you are applying that you can't reach the recommender and that Covid may be the reason. Tell them you have a copy ...


0

Sometimes when getting a letter of recommendation you have to do what you have to do. Letters of recommendation are generally supposed to be speaking of you in the best light possible. Ideally you would want one for the major your are applying to, and, even more ideally, from somebody who has supervised you in a research setting. BUT, sometimes you would ...


1

The source of the letters matters less than what they can convincingly say about your chances of success in the program you are applying to. So choose referees who can write such letters. They might be clients, or managers, or former professors, or people you consulted professionally while self employed. People who know your work and your work ethic.


2

When in doubt, try to find someone who is not a professor, but (ideally) with a PhD, who can judge your work. It is good to have one letter from a professor, but it is not necessary that both are professors. The point is that a letter from a professor who just had you in their course will not say much: Basically, if you had an excellent grade they will be ...


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For the second letter find someone who knows you well enough and has a high enough opinion of your work that they can recommend you without qualification. They need to make a prediction about your future success. Someone recent is better but absent that, an older relationship should work, generally. And someone in academia is better than someone else. But ...


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