Barry B. Benson Posted August 22, 2020 Share Posted August 22, 2020 I know this has been posted ad nauseam in the past, but my particular situation has a twist. So I'm planning to apply to grad school in december (if departments don't cancel it altogether due to covid), and I'm at a crossroads. I think I'll apply to about 8 departments in the US, all of which ask for three LoRs. Initially I took for granted that I was going to ask three of the profs I've worked with while an undergrad for a recommendation, as they know me pretty well and I like them. BUT, this semester I'll be working with a new professor, who is kind of like the 'rockstar' of my department (he's pretty well known in his field, which coincides somewhat with what I'd like to study in grad school). Now, the twist: he was a visiting professor last year in my top choice, and has coauthored with a professor that I wish be my future advisor in my second choice. This is especially a pretty huge deal in my case, as my undergraduate studies are not in the US. Now, the thing is that I don't actually like him (not to get into too much detail, but he's kind of a dunce), but all in all I would be willing to ask him for one if needed. I think he likes what I've done until now, and could write a pretty decent recommendation come November. However, the other three professors know me much better, as I've worked with them for quite a while (thesis advisee, research assistant, teaching assistant, and even confidant). As I see it, I have four options: a) just stick with the three I have, but risk wondering what would have been if I'd asked the rockstar. b) replace the (relatively) lesser known of the three with the rockstar, but wonder if the letter he wrote me was actually good. c) stick with the three for 6/8 applications, and replace the (relatively) lesser known one with the rockstar for the two specific applications for which his recommendation could give me an edge (which might not work, as he'll probably ask me why I'm only applying for two amazing departments, and I will have to explain my plan, which might anger him; and also, it would not bode well for the other prof., as she'll probably find out eventually.) d) stick with the three I have, and try to get the rockstar to put in a good word for me in the admission comitee in those two departments (I like this option the most, but I doubt its feasible.) So, strangers, what do you think I should do? Did you go (or are you going) through something similar? Have you ever heard of 'extra-official' recommendations? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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