The Student Room Group

Whether applying to medicine or masters, can only my tutor write my reference?

Apparently I saw somewhere that because as a graduate I have to apply independently so in that case anyone can write my reference (except family/friends) . Is this true? Can I ask one of my lecturers who I am close with or the person that’s in charge of me at the place I volunteer ?
Original post by help_me_learn
Apparently I saw somewhere that because as a graduate I have to apply independently so in that case anyone can write my reference (except family/friends) . Is this true? Can I ask one of my lecturers who I am close with or the person that’s in charge of me at the place I volunteer ?

Your referees should be the people you know who can best describe your relevant skills. So if you are applying for an academic course, academic referees are better.
Original post by help_me_learn
Apparently I saw somewhere that because as a graduate I have to apply independently so in that case anyone can write my reference (except family/friends) . Is this true? Can I ask one of my lecturers who I am close with or the person that’s in charge of me at the place I volunteer ?


Hi @help_me_learn

As a current PhD student with a total of 7 years at uni, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with getting academic references!

I applied for funding for an internship project when I was an undergrad, and the application specified that one reference should come from your academic tutor… Who I had never met. I emailed and asked her for a reference citing the requirements, and she told me that it wasn’t appropriate for her to provide one (as we had no relationship) but that the statement from the funding body really meant that the wanted an academic who had taught you in some way (e.g. for a journal club, or labs, or lectures, etc).
Several times as a postgrad I have emailed organisers asking for clarification on things like this, and when I have helped organise events I get similar questions. So my advice would be just to email and ask (usually there is a general email for admissions who could answer this kind of question). Nobody will think you are silly, and often they didn’t even realise it was phrased that way on their website/admin documents.

Generally for an academic degree having at least one academic referee is best, but don’t think that is limited to strictly one person. Just politely ask someone you have had contact with (even if that doesn’t mean one on one conversations, it can be attending and engaging in their class) if they would mind writing you a letter of recommendation for X, or being a reference for Y.

Best of luck with your applications!
Ciara
3rd year Agrifood PhD student
Cranfield Student Ambassador

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