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Applying to a recommender/adviser's alma mater?

  1. Jul 20, 2009 #1
    I am currently doing some research with a professor that I enjoy, and I like the lab and the team very much. So I plan on sticking with this till I leave for graduate school. Hopefully, my adviser will write a pretty recommendation for me!

    He got his PhD and undegrad degrees from some fancy places, and did a postdoc at a fancy place as well. How much of an advantage would it give me at these places if an alumnus was backing me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Very little. If I get a letter from someone I know, I weigh it more heavily than from someone I don't (if only because there will be more consequences if they lead me astray), but not because it has a "big name" on the letterhead.
  4. Jul 20, 2009 #3
    No, I'm not asking what effect "big name" will have on committees everywhere, I'm asking what the name X university would have on the committee that's actually from X university. Not asking what Y university or Z university would think about a letter from an X university alum.

    aka, if my adviser graduated from Columbia and wrote a strong letter for me, would that have a significantly stronger effect on the columbia admissions committee than it would have on say the upenn admissions committee?
  5. Jul 20, 2009 #4


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    I had letters of recommendation from former professors, students who did very well for themselves, and even deans of colleges I was applying to - and I didn't get into those schools. I wouldn't count on it making a big difference.
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