how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

irockhard
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:40 pm

how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby irockhard » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:21 am

So you need three letters of recommendation for grad school application, do they all have to come from professors whom you have done research with? What if I have only worked with 2 professors. Or I did research with a professor only in the summer after my frosh year and that was it, can he still vouch for my capability with his distant memory? Where did you guys get your letters? I assume simply asking a professor who has taught you is a bad idea, unless it's a really challenging class, you did very well in it and the professor is a Nobel Prize winner, or someone really famous?

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grae313
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:26 am

irockhard wrote:So you need three letters of recommendation for grad school application, do they all have to come from professors whom you have done research with? What if I have only worked with 2 professors. Or I did research with a professor only in the summer after my frosh year and that was it, can he still vouch for my capability with his distant memory? Where did you guys get your letters? I assume simply asking a professor who has taught you is a bad idea, unless it's a really challenging class, you did very well in it and the professor is a Nobel Prize winner, or someone really famous?


My guess is that very few applicants have three people who they have done research with. Get letters from the three people who know you best and can make the most informed comments that are relevant to your success in graduate school. If that happens to be a professor who just taught you, I think that is perfectly fine. They expect letters from professors.

pqortic
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby pqortic » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:41 am

not all the letters should come from professors. Your boss or supervisor at your work can also give you one of the letters.

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twistor
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby twistor » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:05 pm

I disagree. Why would the admissions committee care what your boss at Wendy's thinks about your ability to succeed in physics research? Get three letters from professors that know you (make sure you did well in their classes, too).

nathan12343
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby nathan12343 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:29 pm

They do want to hear from ~1 professor that taught you in a class. They're trying to determine how well you'll do in graduate level physics coursework and hearing from an undergrad prof will help them with that decision. Try to make it from a professor whose class you did well in and, if possible, make it a particularly challenging class (quantum, E&M sequence, some other challenging physics class).

pqortic
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby pqortic » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:07 pm

I think they want to get to know more about your personality and working abilities. and if you have a decent job your boss can make good comments on you. though taking all letters from professors is more prestigious.

calphys
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby calphys » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:36 pm

The most common thing at my school was 1-2 letters from professors you did research with (as many as possible), 1 from your major advisor, and if you need another, then a professor you took a class from. Ideally, you knew you were going to need this rec letter, so you made the effort in advance to drop by office hours a number of times so the guy got to know you, or at least matched a face to your name/grade. I don't know anyone that asked a non-academic boss for a letter when they were coming straight out of undergrad.

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monocles
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Re: how do I get 3 letters of recommendation

Postby monocles » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:21 pm

It depends who your boss is. I work at a research contractor, so I definitely plan on asking my boss for a recommendation letter when the time comes, even though he isn't a professor.




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