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references for application

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hi all,


i have a question,


in order to submit the references that are required for application for any professional school (us/can med, dent, optometry etc..), i will have to ask some professors for multiple references.


Is there a way to avoid this? (i know for us med application, there's interfolio? or some centralized program for this?)


1. how are you guys organizing this?


2. I will be applying for this cycle 2009 (us and canadian). When should start going around and asking for references? (Is there a time period that i have to get the reference by? for example, if i get the references done now, i could use these for application right?)

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interfolio is only accepted at US schools and im not sure if it's accepted by all schools as i didnt use it when i applied. you cant use it for canadian schools so you'll have to get multiple letters. there is no centralized program for canadian schools (except the ontario schools through OMSAS).


i would say give the prof AT LEAST 1 month to write the letter. profs are often forgetful and it's important to stay on top of things and make sure they get it done. it may be worthwhile to give the profs a heads up but it can wait until later if you'd rather wait. i asked my profs near the end of the school year if they would be willing to write me the letter. i gave them details and whatever they asked for (some profs asked for transcript and CV) in august (a few months earlier for US schools due to rolling admissions).


References should be mailed out BY the referee. US schools ask that it be mailed directly by the referee and i think this rule holds true for canadian schools as well. therefore, there's no point in asking them now because chances are that they will forget anyway and there's no point in you holding on to the letter as they should be mailing it themselves.


what i did to help my referees out was i gave them address labels with each school i wanted them to mail the letter to. since i applied to canadian and US schools, it was easy to get confused with respect to which referee sent a letter to which school. just ask them how you can help. letters should be on official letterhead and in the official school envelopes (all of mine were anyway) so i dont know how helpful it would be to provide envelopes.


just ask your referees how you can help make it easier for them.


hope this helps.

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I think that sending the profs an address label is an excellent idea, but personally, I would probably take it one step further. When you think about it, you are asking these people to do work for you, to sit down in front of the computer and write something. Make it as absolutely painless as possible for them!

I would definitely give them a package with a resume, transcript, and perhaps even a short cover letter describing your intent, and thanking them for their time. Within this package it should also have a list of schools to which you are applying and the deadlines.


Then, I would go out and buy a package of courier envelopes and fill out the receiving addresses. Give these to the prof along with the other information.

This makes sure that you have paid for the postage yourself, and because these are important documents, you want to be sure that they get where they are going. (bad time to have something lost in the mail). As well, offer to meet with the prof to discuss things if that would make writing the letter easier.


It is more work and the postage will be more, but you will come across as organized and conscientious. The last thing you want is for a person to feel frustrated while writing a letter of recommendation for you!

Cheers and good luck.


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