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Letters of Recommendation & Summer REU

  1. Jul 22, 2010 #1
    I am in my second year as a physics undergrad and I am starting to do some research on REU programs for next summer. I am currently doing research (for zero credits) with my calc professor who I believe will write me a strong LOR, I also received an high A in her calc class. My problem is, she is the only professor with whom I have developed any sort of rapport, my other professors only know me from my grades. I do have one professor, that has taught three of my astro courses so far and will be taking a fourth during the fall, but we aren't on a first name basis. My question is will a LOR which comes from a professor that has no personal relationship with me but they know of my grades, be of any benefit? I definitely plan on cultivating that relationship further this fall which isn't the worst thing in the world since deadlines for REU aren't until spring of next year. I feel like I am being a bit to cautious but I want to get my app in as soon as possible. By the way I want to do either an astronomy or physics REU. Thanks in advance.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2010 #2


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    I'm not from the US and thus not really knowledgeable about the REU, but it seems to me that a reference from someone that has taught you three courses will be good enough. It sounds like your first letter will be strong and based upon research and then your second letter will be strong based upon grades.

    I think of it this way: you've only been at university for two years and have already got a strong, research based referee. That's got to be more than most people have at your stage.
  4. Jul 22, 2010 #3


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    It's not often that students have more than one professor they know very well at this point in their career, so having one professor who can write about your research experience is good, and the rest of your letters will be fine from professors even if they can't say much more than 'this student did well in my class, asked good questions, put in a lot of effort, seems interested in the material, etc'.
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