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Recommender emailed letters to colleagues

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I had a post up here a few weeks ago about a recommender who disappeared just as my letters were coming due (to Africa, as it turns out) and then didn't contact me for about 12 days. We have been in spotty email contact a few times, and in the last message, the professor informed me that the letters have been forwarded directly to colleagues at the schools I am applying to rather than through the email links sent by the universities themselves.

I see this as partly positive as my professor is a well-respected senior scholar in our field and the contacts who received the letters are themselves prominent figures. But my concern is that the admissions committees may not manage to link up the letter with my application. Should I worry about my application getting tossed as incomplete before it makes it to the department? Three websites (my top choices) all show that this letter is still missing.

I've already emailed my professor suggesting they also send in the letter through the expected channels but email access is limited. I don't really know that I'm looking for advice--no point in emailing the admissions committees over the holidays, but perhaps I should let them know where the letter is at the beginning of January? I see this as better than emailing the professors who now have my letter and asking them to go through the trouble themselves.

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i agree - while this has potential (actually, MUCHO potential) of acting positive, the possibility of adcomms not getting the letters might throw your status up in the air. so, how about contacting the gradsec and asking him/her to pick up the letters from the profs who got the letters? i'm sure you know that the adcomms comprises of other profs in the dept and i don't think they care about you (and us all) to knock doors of the profs to get those letters. so, contacting the gradsec might add a personal/professional touch to the issue as it's the job of the gradsec to care about applicants' stati. of course, it'd be a relief if your prof submits the LoRs via the online system.

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This happened to me at a few schools where my recommender couldn't get her online app-interface to work. She grew frustrated and just sent the letters to colleagues instead. I hadn't had very positive experiences when I'd called admissions before that, so I chose to email the profs directly. I was a little tricky with the email, though; I wrote it as an apology for inconveniencing them...but ended on a sort of "thank you for making sure this gets into the proper hands!" note. (I suspect the profs are all on the adcomms in their departments so, ironically, "the proper hands" probably includes them in the first place!)

I'd definitely try contacting the secretaries first, as that is safer, but if that doesn't work out very well, I'd suggest emailing the profs individually. Just be very careful with your tone! Good luck!

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