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Anything other than Interfolio?


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I am applying to about 12 schools + 5 fellowships, so I want to make it as easy on my professors and LoR writers.

Has anyone had good experiences with Interfolio, or any other service that handles the LoRs and part of your application?

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Interfolio gets expensive quickly. While you may want to make it easy on people, recognize that they understand that it'll be a bunch of work for them and they will get it done (though you might have to nag/remind them a bit). In the grand scheme of things, 17 really isn't that many. I say this because, once in grad school, you'll need letters for lots of things. Toward the end of my PhD, each of my letter writers probably had to send WAY more than 17 a year on my behalf when you consider grants, fellowships, jobs, and postdocs. I'm pretty sure they sent about 40 each when I was on the job market. The real disadvantage to Interfolio is that you aren't giving your recommenders the chance to tailor your rec letters to specific opportunities (whether that's schools or fellowships). You might also find that some people (*cough*my advisor*cough*) refuse to use Interfolio unless it's required because they want the option of tailoring their letter, even if they rarely use it.

But that doesn't answer your question. The Chronicle of Higher Ed's Vitae is supposed to offer something similar to Interfolio but at no cost to the applicant, or at least that's what I've heard. I don't know of anyone that uses it though. If you do decide to use it, please post here and share your experience with others.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see. Interfolio just looks so convenient. I went ahead and asked how my PIs wanted to do it; but I also offered to just bombard them with all the recommendation links on a certain day in November so that they don't have to search their inboxes for each one.

Vitae sounds awesome, even though it doesn't seem to be made for graduate school apps. 

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I do agree with rising_star. Interfolio is convenient, but it has pros and cons. Some grad schools require letter of recommenders to submit a separate evaluation sheet, and generic letter of recommendation is not enough.    

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I do agree with rising_star. Interfolio is convenient, but it has pros and cons. Some grad schools require letter of recommenders to submit a separate evaluation sheet, and generic letter of recommendation is not enough.    

Do you know if Interfolio will bounce back the request if this happens, or do you end up submitting an incomplete application?  I'm extremely paranoid of the latter.

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Do you know if Interfolio will bounce back the request if this happens, or do you end up submitting an incomplete application?  I'm extremely paranoid of the latter.

If the school requires a separate evaluation sheet, you have to tell your professor to fill it out and email you. You can upload the form to Interfolio and they will send the letter with the form together.  I  got rejected  from Ph.D programs, but I don't think it was because of incomplete application. ( None of the schools actually explained specifically why I got rejected. They always send out generic rejection letter. >_<

 Plus, Interfolio will charge extra when you want to ask them to expedite the service. I remember they charge every transaction. ( if you have to send out 17 letter, it will cost a lot. )

 

Edited by pandagom yoo
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If the school requires a separate evaluation sheet, you have to tell your professor to fill it out and email you.

My problem is that I do not know whether or not the applications have supplemental evaluations that need to be filled out.  I was wondering if Interfolio would be able to detect these for me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi GuruLakshmir, 

I recently wrote to all the schools I was going to be applying to and confirmed if they accept Interfolio. 3 out of the 6 universities I am applying to said they would accept, but it's still worth it as I feel my letter writers who have incredibly busy schedules have lesser work. I don't know how it'll all turn out but Interfolio gives me the hope to apply to few more universities than I thought I could as the main reason was I was scared to impose on my recommenders' time. Let's see how it goes I will post about my experience after it's done. 

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Hi GuruLakshmir, 

I recently wrote to all the schools I was going to be applying to and confirmed if they accept Interfolio. 3 out of the 6 universities I am applying to said they would accept, but it's still worth it as I feel my letter writers who have incredibly busy schedules have lesser work. I don't know how it'll all turn out but Interfolio gives me the hope to apply to few more universities than I thought I could as the main reason was I was scared to impose on my recommenders' time. Let's see how it goes I will post about my experience after it's done. 

PhDApplicant, if you're shy about asking for 6 letters now, then you're going to have serious trouble applying for competitive fellowships or academic jobs after graduation.

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