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My recommenders don't have connection to schools I apply to

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:56 am
by idonthaveone
If people who write me recommendation letters don't have connection to schools I apply to, then am I screwed?

Also, I will be sitting subject GRE soon and IF I had to cancel the score at the end of the exam, will I still receive my score or do I get nothing??

Thanks for your help

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:40 am
by astrobio
If you cancel at the end of the test, you will receive nothing. It will be like never having taken the test, except that you will be out the $120 or however much the actual registration fee is.

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:10 pm
by braindrain
Of course, we don't know this for sure about 'connections'. But, it's not that they have to be connected. It's also that admissions committee members seemingly feel better if they heard of the person and know of them as a good scientist. That what some people are suspicious is going on. However, if you had to make a trade off between a nobel letter writer who doesn't know you well and a young unknown prof. who does know you well, from what people are saying its a tough call on that.

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:48 pm
by mathlete
braindrain... or... you could just send them both! :D

silly today

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:24 pm
by braindrain
That just gave me an idea - when you said send them both, I immediately thought of making up a second fake person to apply with us. What if we manufactored a fake person who had all the right things and sent in the application? We could actually test out the system this way - fake applicants with subsets of credentials. That could be fun, say 3 Nobel Laureate reference letters and no research or perfect scores and the custodian writing the letter. I wonder what we would find out. Probably nothing :) or what we already know - that they are as biased as a monkey. Or fill out the application for a monkey. Hmmm...

There were law school cases of a person who applied but checked off a underrepresented race, like hispanic or african american when they were in fact white. They were thrown out of the school, sued for reverse-discrimination, and won!!! I would say that is plan C (plan B is the monkey :) )

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:07 pm
by artschoolapplicant
First of all, how can you be sure they don't have connections? Unless they live in a vacuum and never attend conferences and never give presentations or publish, someone somewhere has heard of them and someone else appreciates their work.

I can't speak to the level of getting into, say, Princeton, but if you're not only looking to go to one of the schools that has prestige that could melt flesh, keep this in mind:

One of my recommenders was a physicist who started publishing in ~2001 (so fairly new).

The other two recommenders weren't physicists at all.

I got into places.

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:17 am
by quizivex
I go to an average school, but a lot of professors I know have 'connections' to better schools, because they studied at those schools, were once profs there, cooperate with research faculty there, or just happen to know people there. Since it seems everyone at any school has some kind of loose connection to good places, I don't see how that will help a particular student very much. It's like adding 10 to everyone's GRE score. Does anyone have convincing evidence otherwise?