5+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
How important is it to identify each school/program I'm writing a rec letter for (i.e. "I recommend X student for your Y program at Z university")?

I've been using this more personalized approach when students only have 1 or 2 schools they're applying to, but lately I've been flooded with requests, and some students are applying to several schools, which would necessitate editing the name of the school in the letter, printing, signing, and scanning each. Is this something you all do?

Do committees care if the rec letter identifies their program specifically, or does one letter per student suffice for all schools?


Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2010
I've only recently reviewed internship letters, which use a standardized format, so we skirt this issue. But I try not to let any administrative aspects from the rec letters (e.g., whether or not they're personalized, if there are typos, if they're addressed to the wrong person, etc.) reflect negatively on the applicant.

In a general sense, I'd probably appreciate the letters being personalized in terms of the addressee and program. But if it weren't done, I wouldn't view it negatively. I can say when writing letters for folks applying to postdoc and internship, I do try to personalize them, although I have the trainees send me a spreadsheet or other document with the necessary information included. I also am usually only writing letters for a couple trainees at a time.
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Ass of Prof
10+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2010
For undergrads applying to grad school or jobs I always personalize it. I figure it can't hurt and may help. The effort for me is relatively small.
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