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I have a LoR Problem...

Posted by newms, in Waiting it out 22 December 2010 · 261 views

So, I have submitted 7/10 applications so far and should be finished completely later this week (the remaining 3 apps have deadlines in January). Unfortunately one of my LoR writers hasn't submitted any letters yet and 5 of my schools had deadlines on Dec 15th. Every day that passes is making it more unlikely that those 5 apps will be properly considered. Honestly, I'm a bit blindsided by this and figure that the prof must be really busy at this time, because he has submitted references for me more than once before and he's always been very supportive and dependable. He even gave me advice earlier in the process this time around. I've reminded him via email and when I saw no progress and didn't get a reply I was able to get in touch with him by phone this week and he assured me he would send them in. I've let him know the urgency of the situation, but until I see those letters submitted I'm almost dying of anxiety. Any advice in this situation? I thought waiting for results was bad, but this is much, much worse!

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This actually happened to me when I was applying. One LoR writer didn't submit her letter to any of my schools, until one month after the deadline. Because of that, some of the schools didn't even look at my application, so I was automatically rejected. I would suggest you to try to remind him as often as possible -- because it is very important to you. Also, contact the schools and ask them if they consider your application to be "complete" without this LoR (I know Hopkins doesn't look at application materials unless EVERYTHING is in, including LoRs). &nbsp;<div><br></div><div>In the mean time, try to look for an emergency backup. Is there another professor/supervisor/colleague you trust that can provide a letter for you? Some application systems let you submit more than three letters, and your priority now is to make sure that your application is complete hopefully before or shortly after the deadline, so that your chances for admission isn't jeopardized. On the bright side, if you are highly qualified for a program you applied, AdComs may overlook this missing LoR and give you an interview. This was how I got accepted to my current program -- consider myself lucky!&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Take a deep breath, losing your cool is the last thing you want to do. Application season is a stressful time, I totally understand how you feel because I was just as stressed out as you! &nbsp;</div>
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Hey newms! First of all, congrats on your awesome progress! I'll also be finishing up this week. Wooo hoooo !!

As for the LORs issue, I've read on more than one school's website that LORs are accepted later than the actual application deadlines themselves (up to around a week). Consider your deadlines - say, the January ones - and add about one week. Do you think your professor wouldn't get them in before then? Obviously you don't want him to know he has all that leeway, but it's more to reassure you that there's still some time. You've spoken with him on the phone, huh. Is there any way to see him in person? If not, I'd say try to call him again and say something like, "Hi Professor So and So, it's newms, :P I'm really sorry to bother you but I'm concerned about your letter of recommendation. It's the final component left to submit before my applications are complete. I just hope the completed application will be in on time to receive the fullest consideration possible." He may not let you get in that many words edgewise, but that's the gist of what you should tell him at this point. Good luck!!

Edit: I just realized you were specifically worried about your December 15th applications. Whoops. In that case, try calling him as I suggested but make sure before you hang up that he agrees over the phone that he will submit them either the day you're calling or the following day. Ask him if that would be possible and tell him that you're concerned that your applications won't receive full consideration without his letter. Let us know how it works out!
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@Tall Chai Latte Thanks for the advice. I will try contacting the schools and I will definitely keep reminding him.



@JoeySsance Thanks. I let him know when I spoke with him that they needed to be in at the latest by tomorrow (1 week after the deadline) or I don't know if they would be considered. He said he had the letter already done up and just needed to sit down and submit them. But I'm still waiting :(
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Eek, that sucks! I can only imagine how stressed you are right now.

Seconding what's been said before, and I have an extra suggestion: if you're close to another professor who knows this prof well, could you ask them to remind him? I've done that for one of my LoR writers.

Good luck. I'm crossing my fingers for you, and everyone else who's applying this season. I feel like we're brothers/sisters/siblings in arms. :)
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I had that problem too. Just keep badgering him. It's your future, but it's his Annoying Little Timesuck #98343, and it doesn't have a (hard) deadline. You have to keep dragging it to the front of his to-do list...eventually he'll do it. If you can, it'll help your sanity to get a 4th letter, so at least your files are complete if anyone feels like reading them before New Year's.
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Thanks for the suggestions. Just an update - he has started to submit the letters so I'm feeling a whole lot better. I just hope that those 5 schools will still consider my apps.
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Good luck, I really feel for you :-( Hopefully this will all be a distant memory as you walk the hallowed halls of your first choice school in the Fall :-)
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<br>Thanks for the suggestions. Just an update - he has started to submit the letters so I'm feeling a whole lot better. I just hope that those 5 schools will still consider my apps.<br>

<br><br>I'm glad to hear that he's started to get those letters out. It's not too late right now, so hopefully you'll hear back from the schools soon! Best of luck!
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Thanks for the suggestions. Just an update - he has started to submit the letters so I'm feeling a whole lot better. I just hope that those 5 schools will still consider my apps.



that's great!:D i had a professor doing the same thing, but he wouldn't return my calls or respond to emails. i decided to find someone else to write recommendations for me. the finished them all in less than a week. i just couldn't deal with the stress.
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Sounds like this isn't uncommon... The same thing happened to me, one professor who just kept dragging his feet. He'd already written one for me, so finally I wrote to him and asked him to please just re-use the same letter -- that I wasn't expecting anything else, he didn't have to go the extra mile or anything, just please submit it before the deadline because it was too late for me to find a substitute. I hated pestering him because I was asking him to provide letters to four different programs, but it was stressful because I'd put so much effort into getting everything else done early just to avoid being in this last-minute situation.

(He did the letters. The only problem was that one of them had to be sent by hand back to me for submission, and he didn't sign the envelope. I gave up, threw the unsigned envelope into the package and wrote a letter explaining the situation to admissions.)
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