I will be going for my undergraduate thesis under a professor (at a different institute than my home university) in May 2018. I will work with him from May – December 2018. I plan to apply to graduate school (for my masters) for fall 2019, so applications will be done around November 2018.

Since some professors have different policies of writing recommendations for students (for some 6 months is a short time of work to write a good letter, some have other conditions), I am thinking about asking the professor whether he would be willing to write recommendation letters for my applications during November, provided of course he is satisfied with my work.

I thought this would be better to get out of the way beforehand, so that he will know that I am willing to do substantial work during this time, and am willing to take on as much work as he feels is necessary to do before he can write a strong recommendation letter. This will also help me strategise for graduate school admissions and prevent me from being put on the spot if he refuses to write a recommendation in November.

Is this (asking about recommendation beforehand) a standard practice? I feel he shouldn’t mind because I am trying to cover all my bases and plan for my future. I feel it will be better for the both of us if we agree on all such conditions beforehand.

When I asked for the letter, last semester’s grades hadn’t been fully uploaded to the system so among the things my prof wrote they said I was a top 5% student. This week grades were updated and now I’m the top student in my cohort.

I don’t want to bother my prof again and they might not respond in time for the Feb 1st deadline, so I was wondering if it would be okay to add a small note at the end of my cover letter indicating my new standing.

I am a researcher in physics, and I recently started a research project with another professor, for which I hired student for six-month internship. The student was under my supervision. During the internship, she showed good motivation, but did not make any actual contribution to the progress of the project.

After the end of the internship, she started a Ph.D. with someone else. I personally took over the project, taking care of both technical and conceptual parts and pushing ahead the calculations, which require a lot of time and work. To be fair and transparent, my colleague and I included her in all email conversations.

I kindly invited her multiple times to double check some of my calculations, but she had not done anything on the project since the end of the internship.

Also, in the past few months she started having an attitude that I find disturbing. She replies to emails once in a while, just to say that the results that I obtained are great, proposing new conceptual points to explore, as if I were the student and she was the supervisor. On top of that, she ignores the invitations to double check my calculations, which would require an actual work on her side.

Given that she did not make any actual contribution to the project, I am incline to not include her as an author of an eventual publication. I think that it would be definitely fair to include her in the acknowledgments, but unfair to include her as an author.

What do you think about this? How would you inform her of this decision? How would you handle this situation with my collaborator?

I am an international student in Canada. Currently, I am pursuing Master’s in Computer Science from a well reputed University and I am incline to apply for summer internships. Before coming to Canada, I have worked professionally four years in India as a software developer. My concern is, should I mention this in my resume for internship? Will it be overkill for internship? I will be applying to similar jobs as my professional experience?

I need to write a statement of research interest for internships in applied mathematics and computational science that I am applying for this summer.

Having just finished my first semester of graduate school, I feel that I have not fully defined my research interests. However, I have participated in several ongoing research projects and have already interned at a national laboratory.

How can I write a successful statement of research interest at this point in my education? Should I write about what I have already done, or focus on what I want to research in the future?

If I focus on the future, I feel that I will have trouble articulating where I want my research to go… because I really don’t have an answer yet!

I’m a MSc student and the time has come for me to start thinking about my thesis work. I want to do wet lab work in the field of Developmental Biology, but still don’t have a clear idea of what precise topic I’d enjoy working on. What is the process that would get me to this specific idea?

I would have to find a foreign lab by myself, so I need to be able to narrow my search down to the supervisors who do that specific thing in that specific way. But I have little idea how to understand what I really want.

Has anybody been in this same situation? And how did you find your focus in the end?

I’ll start by disclaiming that I work for a large company (2k+ employees) and came from a large university (40k+ students) and that my performance in no way affected the situation (if anything it should improve it, as I am the only intern [of many] from my alma mater to be offered a full-time position).

A few details: I am a software engineer and the internship positions are for software engineers. I did both my undergraduate and Master’s level work with this university.

I overheard a few managers discussing the hiring process during the intern hiring season, and they commented that applications from my school were being largely filtered out. They additionally said that they were primarily hunting for students from other schools A and B.

I intend to go back into an academic career soon and as an academic (hopefully future professor) I am a bit bothered that my school is being filtered out by recruiters at one of the biggest tech companies in the area. This is clearly a major negative statement towards the quality of the program from which I graduated. That being said, I don’t disagree with my company’s decision here. We have been burned by the quality of the interns coming out of this school a lot recently.

Having gone through the program myself, I see a few of the flaws here. Students are marketing themselves as programmers, but the school trains them as computer scientists (those within the field should be able to identify the difference). Students are coming out with only school experience, not personal experience. Students have no opportunity to become good programmers in an educational environment (no clubs or weekend programming groups, etc.).

I don’t want this major vote of incompetence marked on my school as it devalues my degree and more importantly, it devalues the degrees of all students from my university in arguably one of the most up and coming fields.

The question: what should/can I do about this? I want to email the university department and relay my thoughts and experiences, but I feel this is a breach of my employer’s confidence (this hiring preference is not public knowledge or “official”). Even if I were to email the department, I haven’t a clue what I would say, perhaps a better fleshed out version of the above?

I would love to offer advice to the university, but I am no administrator or curriculum designer, and I am sure that unprompted advice from a student who has only graduated 6 months ago would not be well accepted unless it was extremely well worded and thought out. And even then, do I have the credentials to make it past the school’s secretary?