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Small gift as a thank you for LOR writers.


mrmolecularbiology

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At many of my interviews I got comments about how positive my LORs were and I want to get a small gift for each of my recommenders. (even if I had not been told my letters were positive I would still want to give some kind of thank you).

 

So Anyone who has given a gift, what type of gift is appropriate?

 

One of my LOR writers is a coffee enthusiast, so If anyone knows a place to get speciality coffee blends that would be cool I think.

Another  writer really likes classical music and science literature, but I'm afraid whatever I pick he will already have.

 

My boss is the third writer and I'll probably just get him a bottle of scotch before I head off to grad school.

 

Thoughts on these ideas?

Anyone else giving a small token of their appreciation?

or is this a bad idea altogether? 

Edited by mrmolecularbiology
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I thought about mailing a tshirt or something or sending a coffee mug of the school i eventually attend.  I imagine it couldn't hurt.  Plus, if I was a professor who wrote a bunch of recommendations, it would be kind of neat to see a "trophy wall" of where my students ended up.

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I sent a box of whitman's chocolates and a hand-written thank you card once I decided on my school for the fall. After all, I wouldn't have come this far without them!

And I think there are a few threads on this subject in the LOR forum... More ideas!

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I sent a nice, hand written thank you and a $10.00 starbucks card. I think a card alone would have been enough. Emails are weak and should be avoided. Spend the extra money on very nice stationery, I recommend Crane & Co. It will not go unnoticed. 

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I'm a poetry applicant so my letters were written by writing professors. I got them each the newly released book of poems by my favorite poet and included a handwritten note. I didn't wait until the end of the "acceptance" season. I just waited until I got my first acceptance and mentioned it in the note. The gift doesn't need to be extravagant, just a gesture of thanks. But I agree with the previous poster--splurge on some nice stationery. Without these people we wouldn't have even been able to apply!

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Two of my 3 recommenders were my bosses at work, and there is a strict policy about gift-giving to superiors so I couldn't exceed $10.  I got them all chocolate covered espresso beans from a fancy local chocolate place and got a very positive response on them.  I would have spent more without that rule, though of course you don't have to. I also included a hand-written thank you card (from Michael's - nice but I didn't splurge).

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Hand written "thank you" cards. I also gave a bottle of wine to the two I know who drink and some nice chocolates to the one I know does not drink. It is never too late to say "thank you."

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Called me cheap but I only thank them in person with a handshake. Except for the ones from my home country who I met them through a year of exchange and research - played basketball with one and had lunch together with another when I went home again (I spent most of my time in the U.S.).

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I've heard spending more than $10 is seen as a little... much. A nice 6 pack of beer or a bottle of wine, a fun book about whatever subject they/you are in, chocolate, these things always work. If you are artistic, I always hand-draw them a thank you card, seems to go over well.

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I was in New Orleans for a conference and stopped by one of the famous local candy shops. I bought each a box of chocolates and pralines to go with a note in a card. This was pre-interviews, but I plan on getting each a mug and/or tshirt from the school I choose.

 
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I think it's nice to get personalized gifts and, I also think it can be appropriate to spend more on people who invested a lot of time in you.  I applied twice so 2 of my 3 writers did this process for me again, which is extremely time-consuming and was integral for my admission to a program.  For my boss, I got him a combined thank-you/Christmas gift where I bought him some fun office knick-knacks from www.uncommongoods.com and he really liked them.  I also got a writing/storytelling game for one of my writers with a very creative family from the same website, and she loved it.  Both of those were $30 or less.  For my mentor throughout college, though, I bought her a framed art print for her office which was about $50 shipped.  I know it seems like a little much but this person shaped my college experience and career goals and spent a significant amount of time working towards my successes for the last 5 years.  I included a thank you note with each and they all loved their gifts and did not seem surprised by how much I spent.  

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I sent a personalized gift basket with boutique chocolates and other sweets ( 25 - 30 $ )

 

It turned out successful - the LOR's liked it! though they complied I ruined their diet :-)

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I'm getting them each a mug from my chosen school and will be personalizing it with a handwritten thank you card and chocolates. I'm also getting a small plush toy from my chosen school for my mentor's kids and a bottle of something expensive for him and his wife. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is a thank you gift required?  I had planned to send a nice thank you card. I think I'm hesitant because I always was told that putting anything that looks like a monetary value on a recommendation is bad. Would it be awful if I just send a hand written thank you note? 

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Is a thank you gift required?  I had planned to send a nice thank you card. I think I'm hesitant because I always was told that putting anything that looks like a monetary value on a recommendation is bad. Would it be awful if I just send a hand written thank you note? 

 

Either one would be fine depending on your preference. If you want to make it more personal, write a thank you note. If you prefer to buy a simple (or fancy) card and just sign it, go for it. There's nothing wrong with either option.

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Each recommender gets a mug from the school I'm attending, and I'm putting a little stuffed normal distribution plush from Etsy and a handwritten note in each :)

 

Oh man, I wish I had known about the plushies before I bought all my cards and gifts.  Those are awesome!  I think it's adorable how the person makes Chi-squared and other distributions too.

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I was thinking of giving a donation to the dean's fund for one of my recommenders (who is the dean) and giving a gift card to donorschoose.org to the others.  I thought about a mug from where I will be attending, but then I thought it might be wierd to give a mug to the recommenders at the school where I declined admission.  Plus thank you note.  Only problem is I can't decide on $ amount...

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Either one would be fine depending on your preference. If you want to make it more personal, write a thank you note. If you prefer to buy a simple (or fancy) card and just sign it, go for it. There's nothing wrong with either option.

Thank you, this eases my mind so much.

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Lots of good ideas here. I wanted to get boxes of chocolate, maybe Lindt or Godiva,  but I am still waiting to hear back from one school. School is out and all of my references are off until September. If I put  chocolates in their staff mailboxes and they aren't picked up until September they will melt in July and look deformed. lol

 

I think mugs are probably the best way to go and it's a gift that lasts. Maybe I could even put some Starbucks coffee pouches inside. But I'll send them an email too so it doesn't take 3-4 months for them to get the news. lol 

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