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Asking them to submit *before* the deadline


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I anticipate getting a lot of flak for this, so I beg your forgiveness in advance. My situation is such that one of the programmes I'm applying to has two deadlines: one for normal applications (January) and one for late applications (April). My understanding is that after the normal deadline in January, applications are considered on a semi-rolling basis, with chances of funding diminishing as time passes.

The late deadline, and the one I gave my professor, is in April - but would it be rude to ask her to submit her LoR before that if possible? Am I being unreasonable? Any other insights from people who have experience of late-round applications would also be highly appreciated.

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It is fine to ask her to submit the letter at an earlier time. But the best way to do it depends on the situation.

Did you tell her the April deadline not knowing that it was for "late" applications only and the real deadline was January? If so, tell her your mistake and that you would like her to submit her letter sooner. Ask her when would be possible, maybe gently suggesting that you hope it would be possible within 2-4 weeks. 

Or, did you change your mind about when you wanted the application submitted? If so, tell her that your situation has changed and that you are hoping to submit and finalize the application well before the April deadline for funding reasons.

Or some other scenario?

In any case, I think the key things to remember are: 1) tell her what's going on: it gives context/reasoning to why you have changed your request at the last minute and 2) approach it as if you were asking her to write the letter for the first time: you wouldn't want to ask someone for a letter and give them only a week or less to do it. Normally you approach them weeks in advance so expect the same lead time. If she is able to get it done sooner then you're in luck :)

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Thanks for your help! I wasn't entirely clear about the two deadlines initially, so I'll explain the situation and ask if she can get it done by the earliest deadline for another program I'm applying to (beginning of March). 

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