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SuperMouse's avatar

Should I send a thank you note for a letter of recommendation?

Asked by SuperMouse (30738 points ) October 17th, 2012

I have asked three people to write letters of recommendation for a scholarship I am applying for. I have received one so far and it was awesome! I sent an email thanking her and now I am wondering if I should send a formal thank you note. Is this appropriate or over the top?

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21 Answers

DrBill's avatar

If it were me, I would.

chyna's avatar

I would send it as a follow up. I think the email was to let the person know immediately that you appreciate the letter of recommendation and the formal one can be more descriptive and it never hurts to add a personal touch.

Sunny2's avatar

Thanks for a favor are always appropriate. Effusive, if you’re really thankful.

gailcalled's avatar

Even the most facile writer spends time and creative energy on a super duper letter of recommendation. Do write him/her an equally nice short thank-you.

When I wrote a college recommendation for a teen-ager who worked for me (whom I loved), his parents had me for dinner and gave me a sturdy wheelbarrow.

chyna's avatar

^Nothing like a sturdy wheelbarrow to show your apprecition.

gailcalled's avatar

^^The kid before him (also wonderful) gave me a step-ladder. This might also have been a subtle criticism of my own mediocre handyman tools and supplies.

Pandora's avatar

I think it would be nice. Otherwise it can make a person feel undervalued if no one ever sends a note to simply say thank you and it lets them know if their efforts did help the person or not.

Coloma's avatar

It’s a nice gesture yes. I did with my letter of rec. which was an absolutely glowing novelette.
It’s almost too good, a lot to live to live up to. haha

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I don’t think it would be a necessity, although it would be exceptionally good manners to do so not to mention that it would also be a good gesture. I think it’s a good idea.

glacial's avatar

I always send a thank you note – if the scholarship is a big one, send another if you get it.

Also… you were able to read the letter? Be sure that the rules for reference letters allow you to do that. Mostly, they tend to want the letter in a sealed envelope, unseen by the applicant – sometimes even sent directly from the referee to the funding body.

ETpro's avatar

I’ve never objected to being thanked when I have expended effort on someone’s behalf. My thinking is, if you wonder if you owe someone a thank you letter, send it.

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dabbler's avatar

Doesn’t hurt to send the note, thanking the person in particular for spending their time to write the letter of recommendation.

SuperMouse's avatar

@glacial I have to upload the letters along with the application.

@Everyone, I am going to send the thank you note for sure. Thanks for the input!

BhacSsylan's avatar

@glacial Actually, you’re normally allowed to see it, and the right to see it must be waived. This is usually required as part of an application to, say, college or grad school, but is not necessarily the case. And it mostly depends on the recommender, and whether or not they care (again, with colleges, most professors will not write you a letter unless they see you’ve waived it).

And yeah, to agree with everyone, it’s nice. I’ve written a few letters as a TA and it’s always nice to be thanked (one student gave me a starbucks gift card. Definitely happy with that).

glacial's avatar

@BhacSsylan Only in one province have I experienced having to give “permission” for the letter to be unseen. These rules vary between provinces/states and also between schools. Every university scholarship I have ever applied for has required that the letter arrive sealed; I’ve never had a referee ask if I’ve waived the right to see it. If the referee wants to send the student a copy, that’s another matter. Obviously, I’m not saying your experience is invalid, I’m just saying – as you have – it’s “not necessarily the case”. :)

BhacSsylan's avatar

Hmm, question then, are you in the US? Because if not that may be the discrepancy. I believe the right to see it is federally granted, thus the requirement for the waiver. However, this is also mostly for education and not necessarily the case outside of it.

glacial's avatar

@BhacSsylan No, I’m not in the US (use of the term “province”...). And yes, scholarships are generally for education.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Yeah, that’s the bit the caught my eye. So, in the US we have FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Under that act, any student has the right to see the contents of any letter written about them. So, in order to remove that possibility, a student must explicitly waive the right.

Again, though, because letters written under confidence tend to have a much higher chance of being accurate, this tends to be required by the recommender and the receiving institution. But it does actually have to be explicitly waived in each case.

flo's avatar

I don’t think the note would be over the top, although the email is good enough.

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