I received an email from a student today. The email said that she was applying to a program, and that she needed her professors to fill out a recommendation form. She added that it shouldn’t take long, because it should be easy to fill out. The deadline is exactly a week from today.

I am currently away from my institution, and will not return until her deadline, so this already puts me in a tight spot. She was also a weak student, maybe in the top half, but by no means a memorable one.

So I replied very quickly to her email (within 30 minutes of receiving her email), telling her that 1) if it’s just the form, I can do it in a week; 2) if she needs a letter, I cannot write her a good letter within a week; and 3) overall, although if she insists I will do the job, she is advised to ask someone else for a letter.

She responded in a half-sentence, saying “it’s just the form” So I asked her to send me her CV, transcript, and any relevant application materials. She has not responded yet.

I made a mistake here, though, because I was so busy that I did not open her attachment, thinking that if it’s just a form, it should be easy to fill out. Now that I opened the form, I realized that I have seen this form before. I have already filled out this form for another student, and furthermore, I have written a detailed letter for her, because the form has an “additional comments” section that is very short (that I assumed had to be interpreted as a recommendation letter). I even asked about this letter here:
Should I write that a student is a feminist in my recommendation letter?

So now I am facing some tough choices.

Should I still agree to just fill out the form for her? Given that I have already written a strong letter of support for another student on top of the recommendation form, this will be a death sentence to this other student’s application since her grades on the form will be lower, and she will not have a letter to supplement it (however, the first student is a lot stronger in every dimension that I am qualified to assess them on).

I could email the student again, and tell her that because of the above reason, I cannot even fill out the form because it is too weak and that she will surely not get in.

Or, I could just do a half-assed job of writing a recommendation letter for this student as well, although the letter will have to be very generic and neutral, as I have none of her application materials, I do not remember her well, and I am also pressed for time since I am at a conference all week. Even physically sending the letter will be a pain since I do not get back until the day of the deadline.

So I am once again turning to you, hoping that I can get some quick answers (if I decline to write the letter, I had better let her know soon, so that she can find someone else). What should I do?

Im a freshman going to a engineering school in a large public university. However it’s costing me a lot of money, and it wasn’t my first choice of school. I heard about the 3/2 program some liberal arts schools have with some esteemed engieering schools. For example, a liberal arts school would have you do 3 years of pre-engineering and liberal arts, then with a decent GPA, transfer to a engineering school (especially the ones I’m aiming for). I would essentially transfer out of a engineering school to a liberal arts school, then hopefully transfer to a school I always wanted to go to. I’m only a freshman, so I think it couldn’t be that bad, but I’m not sure.

I’m a PhD student currently writing a scholarship application, and there is a section in which I can include any non-refereed contributions, which includes conference presentations. For such presentations, I am to indicate whether the conference is, in their words, “institutional, regional, provincial, national or international.”

Some of the conferences I’ve presented at are very obviously international and national. However, I’m having some difficulty classifying some of the smaller, graduate conferences I’ve spoken at.

I suppose my question is: what is an institutional conference? At what point is a conference considered regional? Provincial?

It seems a bit silly to just go from the title of the conference. For example, if conference X has the name of a city in the title, it would be regional, but conference Y has the name of a province in it and is therefore provincial, even though conference X had greater attendance and was considered to be higher profile because of an established history. As such, this is probably the wrong way to go about it. What is the right way?

I am an academia person having some good publication records. It seems that I may need to spend most of my time in writing proposal if I join as a university faculty in North America.

I have reservations on two aspects of the proposal writing:

Worthiness:

Does a proposal evaluate the true skill of the candidate? My answer (with high probability) is No. This is because, if the candidate is an excellent one, his knowledge is exploited in several of his past academic records. The first is his publication record (especially from the reputable journals). This record (along with the review comments) will almost show the true skill of the candidate. And I did not see a reason to ask the candidate to submit an extra cover letter (proposal).

To my knowledge, the proposal is the very important component for funding. And I am not aware of any colleague getting funding just by submitting his/her CV?

Please note that if the idea of the proposal is shiny (evaluated by experts in the same area only), it should be publishable as a technical paper.

Evaluation Method:

It is known that funding agencies require proposals to provide support for research. However, most of the evaluators of the proposal are not working in the same research area, and in most cases they fail to understand the true contribution of the proposal especially if it is a deep rooted concept. Thus, such a system will benefit those who are not knowledgeable in their research area which I believe is a bit unfair. One may claim that that the reason could be a luck of expertise in the area. However, this can be circumvented by requesting detailed information about the candidate. For example, one of them is by checking the peer review comments of the previously published papers from the reputable journals.

It looks that these evaluation approaches are not integrated in the current system for the reason that I did not understand especially in the academic environment. And I prefer not to involve in such kind of competition. I am also not interested to perform some administrative works such as department recruiting as these activities have their own complications.

I am a bit fan of doing research and teach few courses per year, and organizing conferences, workshops, and peer reviewing papers. Thus, my question is that is there any institution who can hire professors so that their responsibility is just publishing scientific papers and teach 2 or 3 courser per year without writing a proposal (Electrical Engineering)?

Thanks for reading this long question.

I have to conduct some interviews for my phd with people form industry.
I need them to review my proposed method in order to validate it.
However, I might need to send my work to those who I cannot conduct the interviews with them face to face. So how can I ensure the copyrights of my work? I am going to publish the method and the results right after I finish the interviews but how can I ensure that my work is not going to be used or sent to others before I publish it.

I am applying for the mathematics NSF postdoc, and when I click check, I get the warning:

Organization-DUNS Conflict – The identified organization cannot be found in the System for Award Management (SAM) as the organization is either: (1) not registered in SAM or (2) the record in FastLane Research Administration (including the DUNS number and address) does not match the data in SAM. Proposers are required to register in SAM prior to proposal submission. Failure to complete the SAM registration process prior to proposal submission may impact the processing of the proposal.

However, it will still let me submit. Do I need to register in SAM? I am not really sure how to do that.

Thank you for your help.

I have perused the Royal Society of Chemistry website extensively and I possess the necessary education and experience to join as a Associate Member, but one of the requisites when completing the application is that I name a referee, optimally someone who is already a member. I do not know anyone who is a member as I live in the U.S.A. and simply have not crossed paths with such a person who would know me well enough. I am aware there are offices in the US (Philadelphia) and there is not categorical statement that you must be of a certain nationality, so how to “Americans” apply? The RSC is an amalgam of what used to be many different societies, and has a long and rich history going back to Faraday (who incidentally, never received any degree), and it is considered a learned society, like the ACS in the USA, of which I am a long-standing member. Does anyone know how this process works? The fact it is a learned society and deals with a deeply intellectual subject area — the central science called chemistry — I felt this question belonged in the Academia StackExchange Group.

On the SAT Reading Test (and other passage-based exams/tests), there are questions that refer back to previous questions, and they ask you to “find the evidence” as to why you chose the answer to that question it refers to.

For example:

How was Bob most likely feeling when Dud told him …?

A) …

B) …

C) …

D) …


What lines in the text show evidence to why you chose the answer to the previous question?

A) Lines … to …

B) Lines … to …

C) Lines … to …

D) Lines … to …

Does the correct answer to the second question depend on the answer you chose for the first one? So, is it possible to get the first question wrong, but the second question correct?


Reopen question: This is generalizable to graduate students. The SAT is only an example, and there are many such tests/exams that non-undergraduate students may take. Undergraduate questions