LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Schroedingers2c
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 am

LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby Schroedingers2c » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:22 am

Hi all!

I have two hopefully strong LoR form my bachelor research project supervisors. I could probably ask another faculty member, but she only knows me from two classes. So I thought I could take as the 3rd LoR the one I got from the President of the National Space Agency after an internship 2 years ago. I am not sure if it is strong or weak, what do you think?

TakeruK
Posts: 935
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby TakeruK » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:17 pm

Letters are stronger if the person knows you professionally and can comment on your research abilities. If they can comment on your academic abilities, that is fine, but not as preferred as research abilities. Usually if you have 2 letters on your research, having a third letter be about your academic ability is okay and pretty common.

So, if you are choosing between faculty member who knows you from two classes vs. the president of the national space agency, I think you should consider these factors:

- Who knows you better, in a professional sense?
- Who can comment on your individual specific achievements and talents better?
- Does the president of the national space agency have a PhD and/or have supervised students in the past? (Sometimes these positions are held by researchers and former faculty members but sometimes they are political appointments).

Schroedingers2c
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 am

Re: LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby Schroedingers2c » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:41 am

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.

TakeruK
Posts: 935
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby TakeruK » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:27 am

I think the national space agency president sounds good then. Remember that it's the content that matters a lot more than the status of the writer, so it is good that the president knows your abilities well, not that the president is the president.

One thing to note: most grad schools in North America want a new letter submitted specifically for their application. It sounds like you already have a letter in hand from the president of the space agency. However, when you apply, usually the schools want you to provide an email address for the letter writer to fill out a form and upload a letter. You usually cannot submit a letter you already have yourself.

So, make sure you talk to the president of the space agency (or his staff) to make arrangements for this. I am guessing that he will be pretty busy and might not be able to personally do the letter submission. This means that if the school asks questions in addition to requesting a PDF upload, then I am not sure what the staff member doing this work for the president would do.

Schroedingers2c
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 am

Re: LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby Schroedingers2c » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:34 am

Thanks for your concerns. I already took care of that and talked to him. He will personally upload them.

TakeruK
Posts: 935
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: LoR from a "National Space Agency" from an internship

Postby TakeruK » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:06 pm

Great! Good luck :)




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