Reqs from Post-Doc

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Reqs from Post-Doc

Postby Helio » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:11 pm

Hi,

I am currently doing my summer research and slowly realizing that the advisor is junk. She is rarely, if ever, present. Doesn't know what I do, except for weekly progress reports. Moreover, she is a very odd character when it comes to relationship with students, e.g. she talks mandarin to most of the lab, while the only two people that don't speak mandarin are rarely spoken to (me being one of them)

I mostly work with the Post-Doc and do the data measurements, etc. Here comes the question. Could I ask the post-doc for a req rather then the prof? Or does it have to be a professor for grad school admissions?

Thanks for any reply.

Cheers,

Helio

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quizivex
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Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Postby quizivex » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:58 pm

Oh geez. That sucks.

I think the general opinion is that recommendations from people without any status in physics are frowned upon and do not carry much weight. It's not really fair, but admissions tend to prefer recs from profs (especially ones they've heard of) even though everyone knows that many profs rarely enter their labs and deal with their students.

But how bout this? Could you ask to have the postdoc write the recommendation and the prof sign it? I think I heard of someone doing that before.

That's sad about the "communication gap". In the lab I've worked at, the postdoc would document all his notes and experimental procedures in Russian and the grad student would write in Chinese. We'd have to ask them to translate anytime we needed to consult the records. As if there weren't enough discouragements for staying in physics, it's a shame that white American men like myself have to feel like strangers in this country.

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Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Postby Helio » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:43 am

Thanks for the response. The problem is that the post-doc has a better name publication-wise. He has publications in the PRL, while she has a couple ARLs and some random junk.

I have decided not to ask for letters of rec at all, as the post-doc has gotten to the point where he is going to quit (and I doubt she is going to sign a rec by him after that one) and some her recent comments are starting to disturb me. I am right now operating in the modus of "only 2 months left," while trying to pump out enough data to get a publication out.

I wouldn't go as far as saying i am feeling a stranger, since I am not from this side of the pond. Just the fact that English is the only way I can communicate with them (I mean German is not the most widely spoken second language either).




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