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Who should my professors be addressing my LOR's to?


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Should my professors be addressing my LOR's to the director of the program I am applying to?  To my person of interest?  Use a general title such as "Dear [School Name] Graduate Religious Studies Admissions Committee"? 

What is the standard thing to do?  If standard procedure is to address the letter to the director of the program, what if the director of the program teaches a concentration that is different than the one I am applying to and may not even be the person to read it?

Any info would be appreciated.

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I'm going to answer from the point of view of my field:

If you mean the actual address of the letter because it is going to be snail-mailed, then they should address the envelope following the instructions on the application website. It would be a good idea for you to get this address for your LOR writers and maybe even prepare empty envelopes with correct addressing for your writers.

If you mean the formal salutation/opening line of the LOR, then it doesn't matter. It's just a formality. I would think most people write "Dear Admissions Committee".

If you mean what is the intended audience of the LOR (i.e. affects the tone of the letter) then I believe a LOR should be written for any faculty member in the department because any one of them could be on the admissions committee. However, I think your professors would already know the norms of your field and would be able to write it based on their own knowledge. If your letter writer is from a different part of the world where the norms are different, then it might also be helpful to research these differences and provide your letter writers with a summary of your findings :)

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I typically address letters to the Director of Graduate Studies or whomever is designated as the recipient of the application. If no single person is obvious, then I use something like "Dear Admissions Committee" or "Dear Fellowship Committee". Honestly, this is something I never worried (worry) about when applying for things because the people writing letters know what to do.

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TakeruK and rising_star, thanks for your replies.  I was referring to the opening line of the LOR because it looks like most of the online applications are asking for electronic submissions of the LOR's.  You're right too that my professors should be quite familiar with doing this type of thing already!

 

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