Adressing your questions in order:
- Well, the faculty member I could ask is exactly in the field I will apply to, but only knows me from one lecture and one seminar I'm taking this semester. I think I made a good impression on her by actively contributing to the course and asking questions. However, at the time of deadline, neither have I finished the courses (i.e. gotten a grade such that she could comment on my abilities in this field), nor have I given my talk in the seminar. So she could not say much more than "was motivated and asked good questions". With the president of the space agency I worked with for 1.5 months on a quite big analogue mars mission (19 countries contributed). But I did not much physics related, more experimental preparation and procedures and stuff like that.
- Concerning talents, I'd say the president of the space agency, but more on the organisational/leadership/interpersonal side and not really academically. In the LoR it is quite concretely described what I did and how I showed organisational talent with big projects and leadership qualities - which I think is also relevant in research projects.
- Yes, he has a PhD and is affiliated with a University, but not on Prof.-level but rather on lecturer-level. However, he supervised several MSc. and Diploma theses.
So I tend to take the non-faculty LoR, since I have 2 academic LoRs from research project supervisors anyways (who will also comment on my academic abilities - they know my grades and also had me in 1-2 courses.). The space agency LoR focuses more on organisational/leadership/interpersonal qualities, so I think that might make a not-too-bad balance.
However, I also apply to programs in Europe/Canada with later deadlines in February 2018. For these I might ask the faculty member.
Thanks for your input!
Last edited by Schroedingers2c
on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.