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I'm applying for several Microbiology programs that have deadlines on November 30th or December 1st - all of which require 3 letters of recommendation. I've gotten two in already, but the most important one from my Honors senior research faculty advisor has not been submitted. I asked him well in advance (in September-October, and he knew I'd be applying to grad programs anyway) and my college is very small so there is no way he would forget who I am. I also am one of the two people doing honors research with him. He has always been hard to contact through email, and I sent him a reminder three days ago, but he has not replied to any of my emails asking for confirmation that my LOR is complete. While he assured me before winter break that he would write the letter, I am starting to really panic. There's only one day before the first deadlines begin, and my dream is to continue my education. Not to mention all the money and time I spent on this application process. Would it be too forward of me to call him? He gave me his cell number when I started doing lab work with him, and I figure it is my last resort. I know that some programs may offer leeway when it comes to the deadline for LORs, but he is the most important recommender because he can testify to my lab experience/capabilities. Hopefully I don't explode from all this stress.

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I know the feeling, and it was absolutely awful when I was applying. One of my letter writers was a week and half late submitting to Harvard because he was converting his Apple written LoR into an outdated version of Word. If it makes you feel any better, one of the programs PhD programs accepted me despite a different professor's LoR coming in a week late. Don't stress too much!!! There isn't much you can do at this point, but I know how stressful it is. There is hope that they will get it in on time. Another prof turned his LoR in to Cambridge 12 hours before the deadline which would have locked him out of the system. 

Even if you consistently remind them, ultimately they have to click the send button

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2 hours ago, kinseyd said:

I'm applying for several Microbiology programs that have deadlines on November 30th or December 1st - all of which require 3 letters of recommendation. I've gotten two in already, but the most important one from my Honors senior research faculty advisor has not been submitted. I asked him well in advance (in September-October, and he knew I'd be applying to grad programs anyway) and my college is very small so there is no way he would forget who I am. I also am one of the two people doing honors research with him. He has always been hard to contact through email, and I sent him a reminder three days ago, but he has not replied to any of my emails asking for confirmation that my LOR is complete. While he assured me before winter break that he would write the letter, I am starting to really panic. There's only one day before the first deadlines begin, and my dream is to continue my education. Not to mention all the money and time I spent on this application process. Would it be too forward of me to call him? He gave me his cell number when I started doing lab work with him, and I figure it is my last resort. I know that some programs may offer leeway when it comes to the deadline for LORs, but he is the most important recommender because he can testify to my lab experience/capabilities. Hopefully I don't explode from all this stress.

As this is his responsibility now (for he has agreed to do this for you), you can and should call.

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My impression is that he hasn't forgotten, he will hopefully submit it on time for you--it just seems like one of the inertias that professors have, doing whatever that is not on the top of their list in the last minute. This is obviously a very annoying situation for all of us grad students. I also reminded one of my professors today the deadline for LOR (one of the deadlines is day after tomorrow for me as well and he had not submitted yet) and he was really pissed off about it, rolling his eyes and going "I know. It's not like I forgot."  I was kind of taken aback by this since I did talk to him in a friendly tone, and regretted mentioning it for a while, but now I'm thinking whatever. I mean, he isn't going to be responsible for all the time + money I spent and most importantly, my future. Although possibility exists that some schools may wait for late LORs, it is indeed case-by-case, as some others may shut down everything after the deadline. So my advice for you is just go for it, call him and do everything to make sure he doesn't miss it. I'd rather just have an uncomfortable moment of confrontation than spend few days waiting in anxiety + have my future plans possibly torn apart. 

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I would try not to worry about it too much, but would probably call. Given that Dec deadlines are on the heels of Thanksgiving (and I know one letter writer travels a lot) I did send a friendly reminder type of email on the 21st. In any case, some letter writers wrote them the second they got the email and some obviously didn't. I happen to know one individual very well and they get everything done on time, but--I believe--they are legitimately so busy that they are constantly doing the things on their calendar that are imminent. I try to phrase the communication in a friendly way "Hello Dr. X, blah blah. This may already be on your calendar, and if so I am sorry for being a squeaky wheel, but I just wanted to touch base as a friendly reminder that the letter you offered to write to DreamyMcDreaminstien U is due blah blah blah." Just my thought that the reception to the communication is partly predicated on how it is done...and I wouldn't want to annoy someone a few hours before the write a letter that can get me in (or keep me out).

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It’s the same story here.
 
One of my letter writers has not uploaded his letters yet, and I have 3 deadlines in next couple of days. I had asked him in September, then I had made all the accounts sooner to make the process easier for him. He didn't respond my reminder and this has become the most stressful thing in this application process for me.
 
After these 3, I have 9 more deadlines in December and January and I was wondering if I should ask somebody else to write this 3rd letter for those schools?? I have worked a lot with this recommender, and his letter might be an important component of my application and that's why I have hesitated to do such a thing yet. I tell myself that it should be easier for him to send his letters by the deadline, when he has it written.
 
What do you think?
 
 
Edited by black.bird
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8 hours ago, day_manderly said:

As this is his responsibility now (for he has agreed to do this for you), you can and should call.

I just tried giving him a call, but it seems like the number is down ("this wireless caller is not available"). I am really freaking out, I don't know what to do.

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1 hour ago, kinseyd said:

I do not have his skype contact info, I don't think his cell phone is a smart phone either. 

Call the department admin and see if they can help? your LOR writer might have a land line where they are?

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Good news, I was able to get a hold of him and he was really apologetic for not responding to my email and assured me he would complete the rec by the deadline. Thanks all for the input! :D

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