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So I'm planning to apply for a few different graduate programs, and the various applications will take place over the span of a few months. I have two referees who I plan to ask for all of these programs. They've already agreed to help me out as referees in general, but I haven't sent them any concrete information about the programs yet. Would it be more polite to send them all the information at once in one big request, or to make one separate request at a time for each application as it comes?

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I would make one large request initially, setting out the approximate number of applications your going to make and approximately when they would be due. That way they can plan ahead.

After that make a separate request with the detailed information for each application one at a a time (or at least in small batches if the deadlines for several applications are at similar times). That way they don't lose track of one application that gets buried in a overly long email.

I've found sharing a google sheets where you can list each application, deadlines, who to contact, whats needed for each application etc helpful for keeping everyone up to speed (and keeping the information in one place). As well as tracking when they have sent each reference (so you can polity remind them if a deadline is coming up soon and they haven't submitted it yet)

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