Can I Use the Same Recommendation Letters when Applying to the same Program 2nd Time?

Can I Use the Same Recommendation Letters when Applying to the same Program 2nd Time?

Most colleges or universities require recommendation letters when you are applying for a program. If you are applying for quite a few colleges or universities then you can use the same recommendation letter if you are applying for the same subjects. However, if you are applying for different subjects like engineering and business then you should use different recommendation letters.   

What is a Recommendation Letter?

A letter of recommendation, mostly known as a recommendation letter is a type of written document that offers information about an individual’s character and work ethic. According to Wikipedia

“A letter of recommendation or recommendation letter, also known as a letter of reference, reference letter, or simply reference, is a document in which the writer assesses the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the person being recommended in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. Letters of recommendation are typically related to employment, admission to institutions of higher education, or scholarship eligibility.”

For example, an employment reference letter includes the below information –

  • The employee’s tasks and responsibilities
  • The duration of employment or tasks/ responsibilities
  • The position relative to the author of the reference letter
  • The employee’s abilities, knowledge, creativity, intelligence
  • The employee’s qualifications
  • The employee’s social attitude
  • The employee’s power of rapport
  • Reason for employment termination
  • Some text with the actual recommendation itself

How to Ask For a Recommendation Letter?

If you need a recommendation letter then you have to ask for it. In order to get stellar recommendations, you can follow the below steps –

Step – 1: Choose the Right Person

It is very important to choose the right person for the recommendation letter. You should keep in mind that the best recommendation letter will come from someone who knows you very well. Therefore, you should make a list of people who know you the best. Then find out whose recommendation letter will suit your requirement. Then ask the person politely to write a recommendation letter for you. For example, if you are applying for a university then you should consider asking a teacher from your college or the high school guidance counselor. This is because teachers will have the freshest memories of you. On the other hand, if you are trying to apply for grad school then you have to submit a letter of recommendation from one or more of your professors. Politely ask your professor for a letter of recommendation.

Step – 2: Prepare a Resume

If you want to get the best recommendation then you should make it easy for the person. So, preparing a resume will help the person create the recommendation with the correct information. While creating the resume, you should include the below information –

  • Include the information about the courses that you took with this teacher or professor
  • Include your grade
  • One or two of your top attributes with examples
  • Overall GPA, test scores, and top academic accomplishments
  • Information regarding extracurricular activities
  • A short bio and your future goal

Step – 3: First Ask in In-person

Before sending a formal request letter, you should ask the person first and find out whether he/she will write a recommendation letter for you. Speak with the person individually and explain why you will need the recommendation later. If the person agrees to write the letter of recommendation for you then move to the next part.

Step – 4: Send a Formal Request

Now, if the person agrees to give you a letter of recommendation then you have to send a formal request. You can use various types of templates to write a formal request. While sending the request, you should include the below information –

  • The position or role you are applying for
  • When the letter has to be submitted
  • An updated resume
  • A pre-addressed, stamped envelope
  • A sample letter

Step – 5: Follow Up and Send Thank You Note

After sending the formal request, you have to follow up with a polite reminder about the due date. You can send the reminder own or two weeks before the recommendation letter due date. If they need additional information then send them the information with a thank you note. After the due date, you should send a thank you note to every individual who wrote a letter on your behalf. You can also send the update of your application to your recommenders. They will appreciate it.

Dos and Don’ts of Asking for Letters of Recommendation

Dos of Asking for Letters of RecommendationDon’ts of Asking for Letters of Recommendation
You should choose the recommenders wiselyDon’t use any reference without permission from the person
Send a formal request to the recommendersIf someone refuses to write a recommendation letter for you then don’t become upset
Try to ask the recommenders with enough time on handDon’t hide any information or the recommenders won’t be able to write the best recommendation letter for you
Provide all the required information to the recommendersAlways give true information, and don’t share any false information to manipulate the recommenders
Make a resume and include all your skills and achievementsDon’t tell the recommenders what to write on the recommendation letter
When you receive the letter of recommendation, make sure you keep some copies of the lettersDon’t hesitate to ask for more recommendation letters; it is always better to have one or two more recommendation letters on hand
Make sure to send a thank you note to the recommendersDon’t forget to express your gratitude once you receive the recommendation letter

FAQs about Can I Use the Same Recommendation Letters when Applying to the same Program 2nd Time

Is it ok to reuse a letter of recommendation?

If you are applying for the same subject, and if the recommendation letter meets all the requirements then you can reuse a letter of recommendation.

Can you use the same letter of recommendation for multiple students?

It is very highly unlikely that you can use the same letter of recommendation for multiple students. This is because each student has a different bio and educational information. So, the information of a student won’t match with the information of another student. This is why you won’t be able to use the same letter of recommendation for multiple students.

Do universities verify recommendation letters?

Yes, every educational institute verifies a recommendation letter. It is a very important piece of document that educational institutes ask for during the admission process. So, you should make sure the recommendation letter you are submitting with your application form is legit.     


Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Ana S. Sutterfield

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