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How are you organizing your letter of recommendations?

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I asked professors in Sept-Oct "informally" so that they know I am hoping for a LOR from them. This was also a good chance to get school selection advice.

In early November, about 1 month before the first deadline, I gave them all a 1-page cheat sheet. At the top, I listed all the essential stats (GPA, GREs) and a 2-3 sentence description of my research and academic goals. I also gave them a list of the schools I'm applying to, sorted by deadline, with the department name and the names of 2-3 professors I would be working with at that school. 

I waited until 4 weeks prior to the due date to input my recommenders' names into the online application form, which generates an email to the LOR writer with a link that they will use to fill in the LOR. I didn't want to do it too early and have it disappear in the inbox. For one LOR writer, they requested my CV and SOP too so I provided that LOR writer with a CV and a sample SOP (for the first school's deadline) at this time.

As requested by my letter writers, I sent a reminder 2 weeks and 2 days before the due date. The reminder was sent by the automatic application form, not a personal email so that the reminder comes with the automatic link to the LOR. 

All of my LORs were electronic. However, if any snail mailed LORs are required, I highly recommend making pre-addressed envelopes ready and providing them to your LOR writer along with the blank LOR forms. Then they can just fill it out, seal it, and leave it with the office staff to mail out!

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