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LOR Etiquette: When/how to say thank you?

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One of my LOR writers recently submitted all of the letters to my prospective programs. I want to say thank you in a meaningful way (have already said so over e-mail) but I'm not sure if I should do it now, when I'm done submitting all of my apps, or when I heard back from the schools (which will be many months from now. The person in question is an old college professor of mine.

My boss is also writing me a letter, and I want to give her a small token of appreciation in return, but I'm not sure what would be appropriate. She's diabetic so I don't want to send the wrong message by giving her candy/chocolate,etc. and she doesn't drink coffee or tea, that I've ever seen.

My third LOR is actually having me write the letter myself for him to review and sign. Would it be odd to send a thank you note in this situation? I feel like I should show my appreciation for his time, even if all he did was sign and mail them.

Thanks all for your advice/thoughts! I never imagined all the little details that go into grad school apps...

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You can thank your recommenders either after they finish submitting their letters or after you've submitted all your apps, which might be around the holidays and hence make it easier for you to give them a small gift. A book or a gift certificate for a bookstore would be nice if you don't want to give food/drinks, though a nice card is enough for someone who you don't have a close relationship with. Of course you should also thank the person who asked you to write a letter yourself; he might just sign and mail it unchanged but many times professors will use your version as a basis to work off of and will write a letter themselves. In any event, it's nice to send professors a short thank-you email once they've submitted all their letters to let them know the letters were received and then again when you've received your answers and made a decision where to attend. Then a card during the holidays, around the time you submit your apps, seems ideal to me.

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