CarlBrannen wrote:So the basic problem is that they are willing to write you LoR in Russian but not in English?
I guess I should admit that my 3rd LoR did come from a physics professor but it was a guy who I'd only met once and of course never took any classes from. I've been working on continuing his ideas and so he was a natural choice. So if there's someone you've been communicating with you might try using them as a letter writer.
My feeling on the LoR requirement in US schools is that it is not useful. The system in Russia sounds more effective.
I just fail to see what information an LoR will provide that is not already in the rest of a student's documents. Anything that the letter writer writes that is not documented should not be believed. The only exception I can see to this is where there is a relationship between the LoR writer and the school being applied to, but then the LoR requirement becomes a matter of "who you know" not "what you know".
You should tell us more about what you want to study. There are 2nd tier schools in the US that are quite excellent at certain things.
The 1st tier schools are best but they are really most useful for students who do not know what they'll be doing.
For example, I'm at Washington State University which has to be 3rd tier at best. I chose it because it is connected to the LIGO (gravitational wave observatory) experiment. Now, after being here 1 year, I've passed the PhD preliminary exams, am a member of the LIGO Science Consortium, and only have to take two more classes to complete my classwork. And Pullman, Washington is perfect for me -- it's a very small town out in the middle of a hundred miles of farm. I love it. And rent is very cheap here. So the school is perfect for me. I'm having a complete blast. If I'd gone to one of the top rank schools (that I'd originally applied to), I'd be in much worse shape.
jannyhuggy wrote:Ok...then there is one more question. Here we do have some sort of qualifying exam for phds, usually called Landau theoretical minimum(LTM). Does it make sense to pass it and then get a reference from smb. who will know me only via checking one of LTM-parts having 2-3 lines i.e. "This person I know for passing the LTM. "? I mean this may take up to half a year of intense study for 2-3 parts, is there any reason to do it(how such a reference will increase chances getting somewhere)?
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