Rec letter writer says they've submitted letters but they aren't there?? - Letters of Recommendation - The GradCafe Forums
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Rec letter writer says they've submitted letters but they aren't there??


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I have known that one of my rec letter writers was going to be a problem when I asked her (she is known for doing things last minute and being unreliable). However, she's really well known in my field and is an alumna of one of the programs I'm applying to so I decided it was worth the headache. Come Dec 15, she was late on submitting most of my letters and still hasn't submitted one. I emailed her yesterday saying I still hadn't received that letter and a heads-up about the rest of my deadlines in January and she emailed me back saying "I did that letter and the other ones. Will check again." I checked again this morning and all of those letters are still not in. I don't want to piss her off but I'm also getting frustrated because I feel like she's either lying to me or that she just isn't really paying attention.

Is there a respectful way for me to say "I still don't have those letters???" Like I said, she's very respected in the field and, other than this whole letter debacle, she's been very supportive of my grad school aspirations. I really do not want to burn this bridge but she's also 8 days late on one of my letters at a program I really want to go to and I do not want to deal with this bullshit again when my next round of apps are due.

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I had a similar issue, though in a different field (ironically, the recommender did have a PhD in Anthro). I e-mailed to say that the application portal was showing the letter as still un-submitted. I requested the letter writer to check again and make sure it was uploaded, and offered to follow up with the adcom if something wasn't working properly. Just try to be professional, and offer to help in any way possible. And then cross your fingers on the follow through. Not sure there is really much more you can do. Good luck! 

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45 minutes ago, menge said:

I had a similar issue, though in a different field (ironically, the recommender did have a PhD in Anthro). I e-mailed to say that the application portal was showing the letter as still un-submitted. I requested the letter writer to check again and make sure it was uploaded, and offered to follow up with the adcom if something wasn't working properly. Just try to be professional, and offer to help in any way possible. And then cross your fingers on the follow through. Not sure there is really much more you can do. Good luck! 

This is the right thing to do, in my opinion. I know it's frustrating but I don't think your letter writer has any bad intentions. Profs know that the deadlines aren't super strict usually. Also, sometimes the software screws up and doesn't indicate that they have your letter.

For the school that is 8 days late, you could email that department and check if they have received the letter. This is also a good way to let them know that your letter might be late. Again, usually it's not a big deal as long as they are able to get it into your profile before they are reviewed (which probably won't happen for awhile).

As for your interactions with the professor, be persistent but professional as menge suggested. Avoid the temptation to show your frustration or impatience. You can also say things like "Maybe the software didn't register it so would it be possible for you to log into the system and send it again?" and at the same time let them know you're also following up with the school to ensure they got the letter (i.e. it's not just them doing the legwork). Finally, I would say that I wouldn't let this less than satisfactory experience sour your relationship with the professor. 

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@her_black_tights I agree with the other comments about sending updates as necessary without showing your frustration. I had the same problem with one of my LOR writers, where she thought she had submitted the letter but it hadn't gone through. It turns out that she didn't put her title in the right place on the submission form, so the letter wouldn't upload. If you can have her check again and make sure all of the other fields are filled out in addition to the actual letter, maybe she'll catch her mistake. Good luck to you!

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Thank you so much for all of your help. I ended up using a bit of all of your approaches and it worked out! She uploaded the letter today. It's 13 days past the deadline but I'm just hoping that what everyone says about no one looking at applications until January is true. 

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