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Author Topic: Better to have a rec from a prof of a hard class you did well in or an adviser?  (Read 987 times)

blairchuckalways

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Dilemma, three recs, school requires TWO (bold emphasis), so I have these choices, am I making the right ones?

Letter 1 (will submit): General letter from tenured, well-respected prof not in my department but who I took a class with in a related subject, did well enough that he hired me to be his research assistant, and ended up working for him for 2+ years; this letter is SOLID, haven't read it but he submitted it for me for other awards which I subsequently won.

Letter 2: (option A) From tenured thesis adviser/prof who is in my major department; I wrote an award-winning thesis under him, but got an A- in his course

Letter 3: (option B) From tenured prof in major department who teaches the "orgo" class of my department -- I nearly pulled off a perfect score in the class, but took it with him over a year ago (he remembered me in spite of the large size of the class and was eager to write a letter).

Thoughts?

Which one -- A or B should I submit in addition to Letter 1 to schools asking for two letters?

Thanks!

indyguy7484

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My advice would be to go for the thesis adviser.  He'll have much more insight into the quality of your analytical ability (which is mostly what matters) and will also be able to talk about more than just a good grade.  Really it's your first rec that going to sell your application, though.  Best of luck.

blairchuckalways

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Awesome IndyGuy, thanks for the quick response, I was thinking the same thing, but didn't know how seriously adcoms even take honors theses which fueled some doubts. Moving forward now :)

meggo

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I think it's handy to ask all three, because some people take longer than others and you never know when a school might require three or allow three, instead of two. That said, the second one seems to be the best choice. He knows you well, and if it was a difficult class, than perhaps he could attest to that in the rec.saying that despite the difficulty of the class, you received an A-, a grade that was in the top 5% of the class. From what I've read, adcomm's enjoy that sort of reference because it gives them an idea of the difficulty of the class and how you compare to other students at your school. Good luck!

sorry just saw your thing about honors thesis. From what I understand, they are a decent soft. Depends on the school of course, but adcomm's seem to like them because they show that you can work independently, for a length of time, on a large project with great depth. I think an Honors Thesis has a lot of skills that are going to be relatable to law school.....