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On 8/25/2019 at 12:15 AM, cjalcyris said:

Does anyone know how much the references are weighted? And how the questions are formatted? I am applying to quite a few schools this year and when reusing the same referee I don't want them writing a million letters because it is a lot of work for them

Any referee like a prof who does this a lot is saving a hard copy letter / random paragraphs in a word doc on their computer for each student who requests references and is copy / pasting a great deal for each request in nearly all cases. There’s no avoiding reference letter hell.

It’s great that you’re thoughtful of their time though. So when you ask someone to be your reference, it’s nice to tell them (roughly) how many schools you may need references for and explain that there may be a few different formats, and phrase the request such that they have the opportunity to decline if it’s too much for them. If you are asking someone who doesn’t usually do references, you may even want to suggest to them that they keep their thoughts in a central document so that they can refer to it in the future. (There’s nothing worse as a first-time referee than not knowing any better and writing the whole thing in the web form, only to realize all that work is gone forever when you hit submit and don’t get a copy....)

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3 hours ago, frenchpress said:

Any referee like a prof who does this a lot is saving a hard copy letter / random paragraphs in a word doc on their computer for each student who requests references and is copy / pasting a great deal for each request in nearly all cases. There’s no avoiding reference letter hell.

It’s great that you’re thoughtful of their time though. So when you ask someone to be your reference, it’s nice to tell them (roughly) how many schools you may need references for and explain that there may be a few different formats, and phrase the request such that they have the opportunity to decline if it’s too much for them. If you are asking someone who doesn’t usually do references, you may even want to suggest to them that they keep their thoughts in a central document so that they can refer to it in the future. (There’s nothing worse as a first-time referee than not knowing any better and writing the whole thing in the web form, only to realize all that work is gone forever when you hit submit and don’t get a copy....)

LOL that makes sense they would do that, makes me feel a bit better about asking them now. And yep prob will make sure to let them know as well, thanks!

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On 8/26/2019 at 9:47 PM, FrequentFlyer said:

Depends on the institution you are applying to! For example, UofA uses standardized questions and will not accept any reference "letters" if submitted. You would have to check with each institution, basically! 

Does anyone know what questions UoA typically asks? I know Calgary released their examples online

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On 8/27/2019 at 10:11 PM, cjalcyris said:

Does anyone know what questions UoA typically asks? I know Calgary released their examples online

They do not release them, so unless a referee chose to share what the questions were with someone, there is no way to know. I am sure some of us know what the questions are. One of my references shared with me that they were "very good questions", but didn't elaborate further (and I didn't want her to!) 

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