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LORs not in by deadline = auto reject?


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I called the school in Aug (prior to the application deadline, 9/1) and was told that they would wait for LORs until end of Sept.

Last Friday (9/11), I received an email from the dept saying they need everything by 9/18. I replied back asking for clarification and the person (Laurie) was out for the day. I called the dept and was told by another adviser that it was just a generic email they sent, and that they would indeed wait till Oct 1st for the LORs. I was happy at the time since I didn't have to rush my professors.

And then Monday (9/13), Laurie replied and said they need the LORs by 9/18 because that's "when they'll start making decisions." So I had to notify and apologize to two professors. They said they'll do it "tomorrow" and "right away" respectively. Well, now it's Wed and they still haven't submitted the LOR. (the third LOR was submitted awhile ago)

Now I'm faced with a choice: should I risk annoying my professors by politely reminding them again merely days after I talked to them (and telling them the deadline is merely 48 hours away), or should I count on the possibility that the dept will indeed wait until Oct 1st, that the 9/18 date is not really a "hard" deadline?

I'm afraid I'll piss off the professors and they'll see me in a negative light, as if I'm irresponsible by putting them on such a short notice. This might negatively affect my LORs. But I've always thought the deadline is end of month.

But if i give them more time, I'm afraid by next week, when they "start making decisions", they'll see that I'm missing 2 LORs and throw my application out. My strongest LOR was submitted long ago. 

This is such an unfortunate situation. Right now it seems they haven't even started looking at applications yet. When I look in my profile, the applications status is "submitted", not "under review" or anything.

Please advise on the best course to take. Email the professors again or wait?

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There's no reason to think that they will throw out your application if you don't have it by Sept 18. Unless this school is very weird, there is not going to be an auto-reject because of missing LORs. You just need to have your LORs to them before they decide to make the final decisions. (i.e. it sounds like the first admissions committee meeting will be shortly after 9/18 but really, you just need to get it there before they finish making decisions)

You already sent the profs an email on Monday. I think on Friday 9/18 you should send one reminder early in the morning. Let them know that the school told you 9/18 is the deadline and ask your profs to let you know if they will not be able to submit today. If they tell you that they cannot do it today, email the school and let them know that it will still be delayed. 

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