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Gift for LOR writer???

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What is an appropriate gift for Letter of Recommendation writers?? I'm planning to give them a small gift prior to decisions from schools coming in. 

Also, when do you plan to alert your letter of rec writers when you get decisions about admission? Do you let them know when you've made the final decision?

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I will let my recommenders know when I have received decisions from all the schools, thanking them for their help. Maybe they will want to pitch in to help me make the final decision!

I think I'll send either flowers or candy. Everyone likes flowers, and you can easily re-gift candy if you don't like it. I was also thinking about alcohol (maybe a nice bottle of wine?), but it seems to be more complicated. 

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Do people usually give gifts to recommenders? I thought it'd feel a little awkward so I didn't do this. But I guess it's fine if you are have any personal relationship with them.

Edited by steve3020

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I offered my LOR writer who was also my incredible mentor for the last year to take her out to lunch. She has done far more for me than just write an incredible letter.

Can' even start to list all the things she has done for me.

Anyway, she said "No." :o She said as an ethics professor she cannot accept any presents from students. It makes her feel uncomfortable. Well, in the meantime I have graduated so this is not a reason anymore, but I am afraid to ask her a second time. Maybe, she just does not want to have anything to do with me in "private" and would rather keep her distance. That really hurt my feelings when she said no. I was only 2 weeks short of graduation and I never had her as "my professor" in a class, so I really don't understand the conflict here. :(

For the other two LOR writers... one of them doesn't even count because he made me write my LOR myself and then signed it. But I thanked them officially during my hooding ceremony in December. One of them even came up to me and said "That was a nice thing you said."

So I probably won't gift them anything else.

 

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So she said if you want to you can send an email to the chair of the department because she is my boss after all. It will always reflect well on me when a student talks good about me.

It didn't seem like a weird request and I felt that was the absolute minimum I could do.

So I emailed the department and praised her (my mentor) with glorious descriptions of all the things she has done for me and how incredible valuable is and so forth so forth.... It was no problem at all because I meant everything I said in that email.

No clue if this will do anything for her because the department chair didn't even take the time to acknowledge my email . Strange! I even worked as a GIA for the department while I was still a student so yeah I think it's weird that she didn't even send back a "one-liner."

:wacko:

Edited by DrNutty

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19 minutes ago, steve3020 said:

Do people usually give gifts to recommenders? I thought it'd feel a little awkward so I didn't do this. But I guess it's fine if you are have any personal relationship with them.

Yeah, it probably depends on both the recommender and on the applicant. I don't think I'd send anything to a person I barely knew. But I really feel like getting a little something for my writers since they invested a lot of their time into letters for me, and maybe their day will be a little better when they receive a thank you from me :) 

Maybe a handwritten card is the best option if you're not sure about the gift?

Edited by shur42

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Ooo! Last year when I had applied to grad programs, I made these Christmas mason jar snow globes and gave them chocolate bars. They loved it! I think hand made gifts are really cute and meaningful. You could also put together a little mason jar gift filed with candies. You go on google or pinterest and type in ombre candy jars. There's tons of cute ideas.

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My plan is to get them all chocolate and write them a nice thank you card. My cohort made it a regular thing to bring chocolate for the class our entire first year (when we take all of our grad classes together) so I know this is a gift my letter writers (all of whom were our teachers that year) would enjoy and be willing to accept. :) 

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Definitely depends on your relationship. I sent a gift to one of mine, but it was a Christmas present (not because of the LoR), and only because he'd been my supervisor, lecturer and all-around nice guy.

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Definitely depends on the school, I once tried to give a nice box of chocolates to a LOR and was told they cannot accept gifts. I was basically told as a professor, it is their duty to give letters of reference to students and while they enjoy doing it, they cannot accept anything in return. As a result, I have just given thank you cards.

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I'm surprised to hear so many people were told professors cannot accept gifts, I've never heard that from any of my LOR. I went to a small college in undergrad, and am in a large state school for grad school and always give gifts to my LOR. It's never a big thing, some chocolate, a thank you card, candy. I think it's nice to do, and it's always nice to feel appreciated.

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my first go round, I got them wine or bourbon. An older grad student told me which each professor liked and it went over well. This time around I am doing thank you cards with 5 dollar starbucks gift cards in it as a nice simple thank you.

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I think a small gift box of dark chocolates and a thank you note is where I'm at. I'm going to go peak at possible gifts today though. I'm lucky to live nearby a bunch of cute gift shops. :D

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Because I'm from Hawai'i and my boss isn't, I gave him chocolate-covered macadamia nuts (his weakness, basically). I gave my former PI/thesis advisor/bio professor--who's an all-around sweet guy and was incredibly supportive--an NIH mug and a GiantMicrobes amoeba, since his model organism is D. discoideum

Not sure about the third recommender, who I don't have an address for (he moved from Maine to Cambridge, MA). He's also notoriously bad at replying to emails. 

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When is it appropriate to give thank you notes? Like now or after the results are up?

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16 minutes ago, mano said:

When is it appropriate to give thank you notes? Like now or after the results are up?

Whenever you want, I plan to do it when I also know where I am going so I can let them know.

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48 minutes ago, mano said:

When is it appropriate to give thank you notes? Like now or after the results are up?

I think it sort of depends. For instance, I still live in the area I went to my undergrad and I see my letter writers frequently, so I'm giving them the thank you gifts sooner rather than later and then I'll tell them about results as they come up and as I see them. But if I lived further away and didn't have as much contact with them, I might send along the thank you notes when I could also let them know about results. If that makes sense... :)

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On 1/18/2017 at 4:02 PM, mano said:

When is it appropriate to give thank you notes? Like now or after the results are up?

I was always under the impression that it's best to send two thank you cards. One after all your applications are in, a simple thank you for writing the letter, and then a second one when you know where you have gone/gotten in. That way they don't have to wait around for 3 months without a thank you (although I assume you also said thank you via email). At least, that's what I am doing. My first one was super quick and along the lines of " Dear XX, Thank you for your support of my graduate school endeavors. I know it takes a lot of time on your part to write a strong letter of recommendation, and I deeply appreciate your effort on my behalf. I will keep you posted on my results and where I decide to attend. Once again, thank you very much." 

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I'm planning on giving my letter writers a small gift, probably chocolate. I was originally thinking about some homemade things, but now I don't know. They're being a little evasive when I ask when might be a good time to stop by, say hello, and give them a thank you card, so I'm not sure if I'll have enough notice to make something. After I defended my undergraduate thesis, I made gougeres for my second reader, which she seemed to enjoy. I planned to do the same for my advisor, but somehow it worked out that we weren't ever really on campus on the same days/times, so I got a gift card to a coffee shop on campus I knew she frequented, put it in her card, and left it in her mailbox. In terms of letting them know, I've been e-mailing them as I get acceptances. However, that's mostly because I've had pretty frequent e-mail communications with one professor, so I mentioned it to him in passing during one of our conversations. Once I'd told one person, I felt kind of obligated to tell my other letter writers shortly after, because even though it was unlikely I didn't want to run the risk of the person who knew saying something thinking I'd already told them. 

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On 2/6/2017 at 1:07 PM, BlueNahlchee said:

I might be traveling outside the country in a couple months, so I am planning to bring back some souvenirs as gifts for my LOR writers.

Ooh, that's a really good idea! I'm going to Berlin right after graduation, I was planning on giving them gifts at the end of the semester but this might be better! 

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Personally I gave my letter writers each a coffee mug that was directly related to their research interests (e.g., professor studies optimism got a mug that said inspirational half full quotes on the side) and an expensive chocolate bar. Personally I waited until after I had decided where I was going so I could inform them in the card and thank them for their help. They were all exceedingly pleased and appreciated the gesture. I've also heard of giving them a coffee mug of the school you pick.

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I have reached out via e-mail to all my LoR writers, thanking them for all their help (an actual thank-you card will follow, preferably once I've been accepted into programs), and asking if there is a charity or organization that is near to their heart that I could make a donation to in their honor.

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In addition to thanking my recommenders in person, I bought each of them a small thank you gift and gave them a handwritten thank you note. I have fairly strong relationships with all three of them, so it seemed weird not to get an actual gift. 

I've told them all the decisions I'm getting, pretty much as I know. My situation is a little unique- suffice it to say that I see two of my recommenders weekly, if not daily, and they're actively involved in helping me make my final decision. My third recommender is a little different, but I'm a pretty open book so I fill her in when I see her.

They'll know my final decision just about as soon as I do. 

Edited by shoupista

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