I’m specifically talking about Ph.D. programs. One of my letter writers is a well-known professor in the field. I did a 5-month research project with him last year through a fellowship from my university, and he knows my research output well, but is a bit scatterbrained. The project in question was considered “graduate level,” and took place in Europe. This professor also traveled a lot that year since he was was nominated for an lecture series that had him traveling around the world to give talks at universities and labs. This unfortunately meant that our meetings were less often than we’d have liked, and were usually strictly research focused.

Last year, he wrote a reference letter for me for another fellowship, and he sent me an outline of things he would write about in the letter, asking me to look it over. He incorrectly wrote that I was a masters student (I was an undergrad at the time, to date only have a bachelors degree) and that I spent those 5 months doing work on my masters thesis (it was just an independent research project funded by my home university). I corrected him right away on that, but as I said…he’s quite scatterbrained outside of research matters.

I think this professor’s letter would carry a lot of weight in the programs I’m applying to since I know he has good things to say about my research skills and work ethic, and his name is well-known. But hypothetically, what happens if a letter of recommendation contains factual errors like that? From my transcripts and CV, it’s quite obvious I’ve never been a masters student. Would that inaccuracy hurt me? Would the rest of his letter carry less weight? I’m probably being paranoid, but I’m curious about what happens if a situation like this occurs.

For those of you who have been on an admissions committee before, how would this impact my application?

Edit: (additional info garnered from comment)

The letter was originally written for my fellowship over a year ago now, and after I corrected the professor on the masters vs bachelors issue, I was told the corrections were made. If he uses that letter as a starting point [for a new letter], I should be ok. He was just keynote speaker for a conference this week so hopefully he’s less busy after and more responsive (usually is). He is a European prof and I’m in the US.

(Also adding: the reason I’m slightly concerned and asked this question is because when he wrote the first letter, he had my CV and made that mistake. He’s known for being scatterbrained among the entire lab outside of research. He somehow can remember obscure details about my project without needing reminders, though…)

For example, I am considering taking a proof-based linear algebra course that caters to math majors, when I could be doing a much lighter class focusing on applications rather than proofs.

Do graduate admissions look at your courses close enough to evaluate the difficulty of each one? To make things worse, not all more difficult classes explicitly say “honors” or emphasize that it is more difficult through the title.

Will graduate admissions care enough to look at it closely?

I have the option of graduating from my university (U.S.) a semester early. If I do so, I would not be able to complete my honors thesis and have it approved by the honors committee of my university. However, I would still complete the same research project, write up the manuscript, and probably submit it to my university’s undergraduate research journal.

For admission to psychology PhD programs in the United States, how important is the actual “honors thesis” component?

I am about to apply for a Master program in U.S. as I am about to graduate in Bachelor of Engineering. Though I heard that all my grades during all my academic life is taken into consideration (GPA). Here in Brazil is very common to have a huge gap between universities both in teaching level and avaliation process. So, holding a degree from a weak college may be much easier and thus helping you to get a higher GPA while a well-known college will be much more difficult and probably your grades will be lower. Even though you have a degree from the very best college and you do have a good knowledge of most subjects, the GPA from the person who came from the weak college may be higher.

This also extends to the outside world (comparison between GPA’s from different countries). So, how is it really done in practice? Do I still hold a reasonable chance of getting into a nice college with not a so high GPA?

I am an internation student (Egypt, not china or india) with 3.4 GPA, 700 PGRE,

47% Verbal GRE and 70% Quantitative GRE and 104 TOEFL. I am applying for all

biophysics and CME/CMT. I have some research experience(1 internship 1 project and 1 thesis senior project all in biophysics), with no

publications. and my recommendation letters is somewhat good. My school is top

in physics at my country, and i took two weeks to prepare for the pgre. and please also note that i am a senior undergraduate.

My question is, given my scores above, will i have a chance of admitting in any

of those universities? what of them is a very long shot, and what probably will

accept me? should i take a masters first, and then apply for a decent phd

school? what do you think is best? I am applying for

1) Georgia Tech
2) Wisconsin Madison
3) Northeastern
4) Brandeis
5) George Mason
6) Pittsburgh
7) Indiana
8) Mass Amherst
9) Purdue
10) McGill
11) Alberta
12) U Florida
13) Rochester
14) Rutgers
15) NYU
16) Northetn Illinois
17) Lehigh
18) IST Austria
19) UC Irvine
20) Waterloo

I’m an senior math major in undergraduate planning on applying to around a dozen school’s ph.d. programs in math. I think the rest of my application (grades, advanced classes, research experience, letters of recommendation, general GRE scores) is fine, but I am concerned somewhat with my subject test scores. Due to financial and time constraints, I was only able to take the test once, and I got a score in the 31st percentile.

Is this something that’s worth mentioning in my letters of intent? Specifically, I was thinking of mentioning that when I took the MFT (major field test) in mathematics as part of the capstone course at my university, I scored in the 96th percentile, so it’s not that I’m bad at university mathematics, I just had test anxiety concerning the subject test.

Also, for what it’s worth, I thought the MFT was similar in content to the math subject test, but not as difficult.

Another option might be just to mention the high MFT scores on my CV that I send in with my applications, leaving out any mention of that in my letters of intent, and just hoping that helps my case with the admissions committees.

I have the option of graduating from my university (U.S.) a semester early, and if I do so, I would receive the lowest honors designation of cum laude. However, if I do not graduate early, I will be able to receive the highest honors designation of summa cum laude. How important is this designation for graduate school admissions, and is there a major difference between these two? My GPA would remain unchanged, the only difference is completion of other honors program requirements.