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Recommendation Letters -- Craaaaaaap!


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Hi everyone--


So I've recently applied for my Master's degree and wanted a professional workplace reference in addition to my academic one. I spent some time working in a Congresswoman's office and so I asked them to write me one, and they agreed. And having worked there, I know that the protocol is to have a staff person draft letters, and then have the Congresswoman sign them.


Ordinarily I would think this to have a positive impact on my application, but I just read through some little-known FAQ page on the website of a school I applied to. And this FAQ says, "Professional recommenders should be direct supervisors or colleagues."


So, crap.


Is it going to hurt my application that my recomendation letter is signed by the Congresswoman? Should I have gotten my direct supervisor to sign it instead? Technically the Congresswoman was my supervisor... just not my direct one, of course, and certainly not a "colleague."


For the record, I did waive my right to see it. I have no idea what it said or anything. I just know how the process works, insofar as who signs them, because I worked there and witnessed several reference letters go out for other people.


Any thoughts or insight, fellow hair-puller-outters?

Edited by Eigen
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Hmm, I don't think it should really be a problem. The website probably specified that so people don't use friends/family/professors as their "professional" letters.  


For other areas of study, it seems to be a common practice for professors/PIs to just sign off on a letter written by a TA or grad student who really knows the applicant.  I help in a research lab, and spend 10+ hours/week with the doctoral students who supervise, so when I asked for a letter of rec, they helped write it and give input, but the PI (who i've only had a handful of conversations with) is listed as the official "recommender".

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