Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Wonderland93

Bad email response from a prof...

Recommended Posts

I graduated in 2016 with an econ degree and now I'm trying to apply for sociology PhD. I never took a sociology class since I had no idea I was interested in sociology until after college. I have good GRE(170V 169Q)/GPA(3.88) and decent work experience, but the biggest problem is that I didn't try to build relationships with professors at all during college thinking that I'd never go to grad school... and fast forward 3 years, now that's the only thing I want in life. Smh. 

I'm visiting my alma mater for 2 days next week and I was planning to talk to a couple professors who might at least remember me and ask for recs. I sent an email to two professors, telling them about my current job and my decision to pursue grad school, and saying that I want to stop by and talk to them and hear some advice (didn't even mention that I want recs, although they might have inferred). One of them was my reference for my current job so I'm not too worried, but the other one replied with a very curt response: "Dear ___, thank you for your email. A note just to let you know that unfortunately with time constraints that won't work out."

She was never a warm or talkative person, but I'm a little shocked tbh since she once told me to let her know if I need a recommendation letter when I ran into her on campus back in college. Maybe I disappointed her by ignoring that and not ever contacting her...? That response probably means that she doesn't want to write an LOR for me, or that even if she does it will be negative, right?

I'm panicking bc one other prof who could maybe write a letter for me went MIA after not getting the tenure and everyone says she just got pissed and decided to fuck it all..

 

Should I just be brazen and reply with a request for a rec?

Or Should I try my French professor that I took 3 classes and wrote papers with, even though it's not related to sociology?

Or should I just get 2 recs from my job? (I'm a research assistant, i.e. Excel slave, at an international organization)

I feel lost...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually had a similar situation with a professor's tone, so I can very much relate to how you're feeling. While I obviously don't know with certainty the reason for her tone, here are the possibilities I see:

1. She may be uncomfortable (or bitter about) writing a LOR for another field. Did you mention going into sociology? (I don't agree with this attitude, even if this was the case.)

2. Since you didn't mention a letter of recommendation in your letter, she may not have realized that you're asking for one. The only way to know for sure is to write her back and specify the request for a letter of recommendation. 

3. She doesn't remember you. Did you take many classes with her? While it's easy to remember our professors, unless we stood out in some way, they usually don't remember us due to the quantity of students they have. 

Whatever the reason, I doubt it has anything to do with you not keeping in touch with her. Professors don't usually expect to keep in touch with undergrads. (Maybe there are some exceptions, but most don't.) Unless she specifically invited you to keep in touch and seemed genuine about it, I wouldn't worry about this. 

Of course, you'll never really know unless you write back to her and specifically request the letter of recommendation. The worst outcome is that she'll ignore you or reply curtly again (maybe even more curtly). You just have to be prepared for these outcomes. 

In any case, it doesn't sound like you'll have too much of a problem given that you excelled in a difficult field and have top GRE scores. I would definitely go with academic references. Your academic performance speaks for itself, and as long as there isn't anything negative in the letters, you'll probably get in easily. Good luck!

Edited by desertwoman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it really all depends on how you worded/what your email said! 

Do they mean meeting wont work, b/c if you're there for only 2 days maybe they just genuinely have other plans/commitments.

 

If you didn't specify or mention a LOR and only mentioned meeting up, she more than likely just has other stuff going on; would it be possible to ask her to speak on the phone? Would this be 'weird?'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you didn't explicitly ask for a LOR, you can't expect someone to know that's what you meant. Ask if they are comfortable with writing you a LOR. Maybe mention why you specifically asked this professor, reminding them about the class you took with them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.