LOR Question

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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winning
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:24 am

LOR Question

Postby winning » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:23 pm

I have read that getting an LOR from a person of very high stature can be detrimental to one's application because the AdCom will assume that you chose the person just for his/her name.

I was planning on getting one of my LORs from a very well known former government official who taught at my school. I took a small seminar taught by this person and worked as a research assistant for this person. And I'm sure the recommendation will be good because we have a good relationship and the recommender knows me well. But can the fact that it's a big name hurt my application?

Thanks!

MumofCad
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: LOR Question

Postby MumofCad » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:32 pm

No (it won't hurt you), I wrestled with this myself and decided to go another way, because I had worked with the person outside of academia. Totally different situation.

If the person taught you, the fact that they are a former government official is a non-issue. In fact, they are probably senior faculty, well-respected, etc and all that is a plus. The advice is geared towards those just looking to drop a name. I think it most often happens when someone interned on Capitol Hill or at the Governor's office, where they shuffled papers and answered phones. Then they get him to write a meaningless rec that really doesn't offer anything to the adcoms. In your case, go for it. I don't see how this differs from advice to get senior faculty to write.

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acrossthelake
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Re: LOR Question

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:52 pm

You're misunderstanding--

It's not a good idea to get an "important" person who has never taught you or been responsible for you in a formal setting.

If a person has taught you/been responsible for you as an employer in a formal setting, it can be anyone of any stature.

Your proposed recommender taught you in a formal classroom setting and supervised you as an RA, so it works.

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winning
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Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:24 am

Re: LOR Question

Postby winning » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:13 am

Thanks for the info folks. Much appreciated.




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