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Number of schools and Recommendations


socaljournalist
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I posted this in the govt affairs section, but I'm really hoping to get some advice, so here it is again:

I have been stressing out about the number of graduate programs to which I'm applying (10) and asking recommenders to fill out the required forms. Is it unreasonable to expect them to be able to fill out 10 different recommendation forms? (I'm expecting them to use the same letter of recommendation for each school.) Do I need to cut down the list of schools to which I apply? Or ask 4-5 recommenders so no one person is overly burdened? I really don't want to do that, since the 3 recommenders I've chosen are strong. I am giving them a lot of lead time (I'm asking for the recs this week but most applications are due in January).

I think the reason I'm stressing is because my college thesis advisor has cautioned me in the past that she has "numerous" people who ask her for recommendations this time of year, so I need to use my university's dossier service for recommendations. But how can I use the dossier service if each school has a separate recommendation form they want the recommender to fill out and attach to the letter?

Please advise! Thank you!!

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Most of the LOR forms I've seen for schools say that the recommender is welcome to attach a separate letter to the form rather than answer all the questions. They prefer the form to be filled out, but they'll accept a letter on letterhead with the form stapled to it. I've also found that most schools really don't like the dossier services- they want personalized LORs. And I don't think you should cut down the number of schools you're applying to. This is part of a professor's job and if they agreed to write letters for you, I'm sure they had an idea of what they were getting themselves into. If they're annoyed by it, I'm sure it won't be directed at you- they'll just be irritated with the schools and the ridiculous lengths they make us all go through. Just make sure you make it as easy as possible for them by mailing each a package with everything they need to write and send the letters to the schools.

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Definitely don't cut down the number of schools.

You have probably already thought of this, but be sure to fill out as much of each form as you can. Then deliver them one packet with all the forms, stamped and addressed envelopes for the letters and/or instructions on submitting them electronically, your CV/SoP (for their reference), and a cover page with all the schools and the deadlines.

This should make it easier for them to manage.

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I have been stressing out about the number of graduate programs to which I'm applying (10) and asking recommenders to fill out the required forms. Is it unreasonable to expect them to be able to fill out 10 different recommendation forms? (I'm expecting them to use the same letter of recommendation for each school.) Do I need to cut down the list of schools to which I apply? Or ask 4-5 recommenders so no one person is overly burdened? I really don't want to do that, since the 3 recommenders I've chosen are strong. I am giving them a lot of lead time (I'm asking for the recs this week but most applications are due in January).

Don't worry about this. My schools all ask for similar forms. I had six, and I walked in to my recommenders' offices last week expecting to hear "yeah, that's enough." Instead, I was told that "10 is a nice round number!" by 3 our of 4 of 'em, and when I told the fourth that I might add a few more schools to the list, he said, "Bring it on." And these are ridiculously busy people that work in a top-notch department! I think they're genuinely up for giving us a hand, regardless of the amount of work it might mean for them.

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