Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
eskay2007
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Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby eskay2007 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:01 pm

There has been one individual in particular who has literally bent over backwards to help me out throughout my application process. He wrote numerous LOR, contacted individuals he knew at law schools I was interested in, and did an LSAC evaluation for me.

Has anyone sent small tokens of appreciation to their recommendation writers, and if so, any suggestions on what to send along with a thank you letter?

Anyone see something wrong or unprofessional about it?

Apologies if this topic has already been discussed, could not find it.

splitmuch
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby splitmuch » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:01 pm

eskay2007 wrote:There has been one individual in particular who has literally bent over backwards to help me out throughout my application process. He wrote numerous LOR, contacted individuals he knew at law schools I was interested in, and did an LSAC evaluation for me.

Has anyone sent small tokens of appreciation to their recommendation writers, and if so, any suggestions on what to send along with a thank you letter?

Anyone see something wrong or unprofessional about it?

Apologies if this topic has already been discussed, could not find it.



I took one out for dinner.

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NYC Law
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby NYC Law » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:04 pm

I'd probably do a gift card

bartleby
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby bartleby » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:17 pm

-1 to gift card. I just think anything else would be better.

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NYC Law
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby NYC Law » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:19 pm

It just comes off weird if you do too much.

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legalese_retard
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby legalese_retard » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:35 pm

eskay2007 wrote:There has been one individual in particular who has literally bent over backwards to help me out throughout my application process. He wrote numerous LOR, contacted individuals he knew at law schools I was interested in, and did an LSAC evaluation for me.

Has anyone sent small tokens of appreciation to their recommendation writers, and if so, any suggestions on what to send along with a thank you letter?

Anyone see something wrong or unprofessional about it?

Apologies if this topic has already been discussed, could not find it.


You should definitely get him a gift and make it a thoughtful one - he obviously put a lot of thought into your LORs. If you don't know what his interests are, get him something connected to the law school you are going to. I gave my recommenders a coffee mug and paperweight with my law school on them. If you are going to a law school that is in a different state, get him a gift with some local flair (i.e. I love NYC shirt, bottle of CA, 6-pack from a local brewery, local candy, etc).

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law4vus
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby law4vus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:10 pm

I got mine a gift from when I traveled abroad and also a bottle of wine from a small local winery near where I live. I got free Chipotle in return.

Win/win.

lightbulb1986
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby lightbulb1986 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:16 pm

.
Last edited by lightbulb1986 on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

bp shinners
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:42 pm

legalese_retard wrote:If you don't know what his interests are, get him something connected to the law school you are going to. I gave my recommenders a coffee mug and paperweight with my law school on them.


+1

wester0
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby wester0 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:23 pm

...
Last edited by wester0 on Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NYC Law
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby NYC Law » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:47 pm

Just to show I'm not insane/rude, another thread (other forum) on gift giving for recommenders:
http://ask.metafilter.com/90416/Thankyo ... mendations
When I've written letters, a thank you note is nice but not expected -- letters are just part of the job. (If the letter writer is not an academic, then the thank you note is probably mandatory rather than optional, because writing letters is an extra thing they are taking on, over and above their routine work.) I really, really dislike it when students give gifts -- they are already paying lots of tuition, and I am just doing my job, for which I am being paid. For me, the gifts skirt too close to an ethical line, where if it becomes a normal and expected thing, then will only students who can afford to give gifts receive letters of reference? So I'd prefer no gifts, and just a basic "thank you" which can be a card, an email, or stopping me in the hall.

What I really like, but surprisingly few students do, is to get an email or a card saying "I was admitted to School X / got the scholarship / Peace Corps is sending me to Mali / whatever." Getting a note like that makes my whole week, because it lets me feel like I had some small part to play in someone doing something really neat. Honestly, I think a follow-up email like that is more important than any initial thank you letter, but almost no one writes them.


Giving actual gifts just seems over the top unless the recommender really went over the top for you (like the OPs situation). But as a general rule for all other circumstances, I'm not sure gifts are appropriate.

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Jack Smirks » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:50 pm

I just sent a thank you note and gift cards for Christmas.

pleasepickme
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby pleasepickme » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:04 pm

I gave mine small, 4 piece boxes of chocolates and thank you cards. I also let them all know when I got into HLS and SLS! :)

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swilson215
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby swilson215 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:16 pm

I sent mine a 1 lb box of a candy that's a hometown fave. everyone was really appreciative!

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Moxie
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Moxie » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:17 pm

I gave a card and gift card to my 3 recommenders. I think you should absolutely send some appreciation (whether card, gift, or both) I don't know why people are saying no to giving gift cards, but I think the thought is > the gift itself anyways.

acrossthelake
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:58 pm

I was close to all of my letter writers(went out to lunch with 2 of them during senior week) so it made sense to give them a gift. I gave all 3 a box of chocolates...found out one was allergic(whoops...) and then gave him a mug from my law school in addition. It was pretty standard where I grew up to make sure to buy your high school rec letter writers gifts after your cycle was over...not sure why it would be seen as unprofessional at this level if you were close to the writer.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:04 pm

I think the key is to make it a nice "token" gift instead of something that could be perceived as payment. A gift card, even a small one, is just uncomfortable because it has a dollar amount attached.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:23 pm

I got mine some boxed treats (can't rememer what was in them...assorted chocolate-covered things, I think) when I submitted my apps, and a mug from NU when I decided on a school.

I think a Starbucks card would be fine...although I think a gift card to any kind of retail store (Best Buy/Barnes & Noble/etc.) might be a little weird, unless you happen to know for sure something that they'd like.

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Verity
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Verity » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:44 pm

bp shinners wrote:
legalese_retard wrote:If you don't know what his interests are, get him something connected to the law school you are going to. I gave my recommenders a coffee mug and paperweight with my law school on them.


+1



I don't know about this. If your recommender is a professor at, say, BC and you get him a Yale coffee mug, if he didn't go to Yale then that might be an awkward thing to put on his desk at BC.

A gift card is okay, but kind of impersonal and halfhearted. A nice handwritten note is a must. Maybe a nice book (based on his interests)? For instance, if he's an investment buff, getting him the leather-bound commemorative edition of Security Analysis would be really cool. I don't know your budget, but definitely make it personal.
Last edited by Verity on Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Curry

Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Curry » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:49 pm

I'm planning on doing what ATL did. Mug from the place I'm going to plus some chocolates and a thank you card.

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Dany
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Dany » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Verity wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
legalese_retard wrote:If you don't know what his interests are, get him something connected to the law school you are going to. I gave my recommenders a coffee mug and paperweight with my law school on them.

+1

I don't know about this. If your recommender is a professor at, say, BC and you get him a Yale coffee mug, if he didn't go to Yale then that might be an awkward thing to put on his desk at BC.

lol what? They don't have to parade it around on their desk. A mug is just about the least "awkward" thing you could get them.

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Verity
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Verity » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:29 am

Dany wrote:
Verity wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
legalese_retard wrote:If you don't know what his interests are, get him something connected to the law school you are going to. I gave my recommenders a coffee mug and paperweight with my law school on them.

+1

I don't know about this. If your recommender is a professor at, say, BC and you get him a Yale coffee mug, if he didn't go to Yale then that might be an awkward thing to put on his desk at BC.

lol what? They don't have to parade it around on their desk. A mug is just about the least "awkward" thing you could get them.


I used to get stares from faculty on campus for wearing a USC shirt (hint: didn't go to USC), even some condescending remarks. Not saying he'd bring it to work (and I don't even know if the recommender is a professor, so this could be moot), but it might be awkward for a professor to do that.

d34d9823
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby d34d9823 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:33 am

Verity wrote:I used to get stares from faculty on campus for wearing a USC shirt (hint: didn't go to USC), even some condescending remarks. Not saying he'd bring it to work (and I don't even know if the recommender is a professor, so this could be moot), but it might be awkward for a professor to do that.

Unless USC was a rival, you either went to the most aspie school on earth or are full of shit. Most professors have degrees from 2 or more schools besides the one they teach at. It's not weird at all to see them with other schools' gear.

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Verity
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Verity » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:38 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
Verity wrote:I used to get stares from faculty on campus for wearing a USC shirt (hint: didn't go to USC), even some condescending remarks. Not saying he'd bring it to work (and I don't even know if the recommender is a professor, so this could be moot), but it might be awkward for a professor to do that.

Unless USC was a rival, you either went to the most aspie school on earth or are full of shit. Most professors have degrees from 2 or more schools besides the one they teach at. It's not weird at all to see them with other schools' gear.


No it wasn't a rival really, it was a big state school in the South. And I said "unless the professor went to [that school]" which would make your whole point moot. Professors know where their fellow professors went to school. If I went to Tulane, and my colleague went to Dartmouth and Princeton and started sporting a Tulane mug, and we're both teaching at U Texas, I'd raise an eyebrow but personally wouldn't really care. Some would, though. It might be semi-awkward.

Besides, I think OP can do better than a mug.

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Dany
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Re: Thoughts on sending a recommender a gift for their help?

Postby Dany » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:50 am

Verity wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
Verity wrote:I used to get stares from faculty on campus for wearing a USC shirt (hint: didn't go to USC), even some condescending remarks. Not saying he'd bring it to work (and I don't even know if the recommender is a professor, so this could be moot), but it might be awkward for a professor to do that.

Unless USC was a rival, you either went to the most aspie school on earth or are full of shit. Most professors have degrees from 2 or more schools besides the one they teach at. It's not weird at all to see them with other schools' gear.

No it wasn't a rival really, it was a big state school in the South. And I said "unless the professor went to [that school]" which would make your whole point moot. Professors know where their fellow professors went to school. If I went to Tulane, and my colleague went to Dartmouth and Princeton and started sporting a Tulane mug, and we're both teaching at U Texas, I'd raise an eyebrow but personally wouldn't really care. Some would, though. It might be semi-awkward.

Besides, I think OP can do better than a mug.

This is honestly the weirdest reaction to a nice gift of a mug I've ever seen. The president of my UG (also a big state school in the south) LOVED the mug I got him from my future law school - which he has no affiliation with. So if the president of a university is okay with something from another school, I'm 100% sure it's not as eyebrow-raising as you, for some reason, believe it to be.

Mugs are a great idea, OP.




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