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6th year graduate student as a reference?


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So...I have two solid references for NSF GRFP and grad school apps (one from my thesis adviser, one from a researcher I'm doing a project for now), but I am trying to find a third person. I worked for a graduate student on a side project last summer, and he liked my work and we've kept in touch ever since. He would make a great reference because I worked directly for him on his project, and he knows how passionate I am about my field. But how would a reviewer feel about a rec from a grad student? (He has been a grad student for 6 years in the field I want to do research in, and has been published in The American Naturalist ).

Many thanks!

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I would not go this route. It might be OK, but probably won't be.

One possibility, though, would be getting his or her advisor to write you a letter- if you worked with the grad student, you worked for them- and I'm sure they'd be open to having this grad student help with the content of the letter. I know this might work for some undergraduates that have worked with me but had limited contact with my PI- he would be the one that would write the letter, but I know he'd get input from me since I'm the one that worked with them the most.

Just a thought.

Edited by Eigen
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Thanks for the responses!

Actually now that I'm thinking about it, I asked his PI for a recommendation once (with Eigen's plan in mind - the grad student would help write the letter), and I got a positive response from the PI. But, it's been a while (she said yes to writing a rec in January of this year), I worked in that lab for just 2 months last summer, and I am planning to apply to the PI's lab (her lab is actually my second choice) so would it be weird to ask her for a recommendation to get into her own lab?

I guess I should I ask her to write a LoR for NSF GRFP and my other grad schools, and then ask someone else to write the rec to get into her lab? (Still leaves me with the problem of finding a 3rd LoR writer for her lab...)

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If she said yes, I don't see the problem.

There's not much stronger for a letter of recommendation than one from a professor, in the department, in who's lab you've worked/want to work.

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