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How to remind a professor that they agreed to write you a LOR?


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Hi everyone, I'm currently working on finalizing my personal statement and resume to send to professors that agreed to write me a LOR. Last semester I took two classes with a professor that agreed to write me a LOR because I got an A in each class. How do I remind him to write me the LORs without sounding annoying or pushy? I would rather send him an email than randomly show up during his office hours. Thank you in advance!

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I would just send a brief email, something letting them know you're getting ready to apply and asking if they're still willing to do the LOR. If you discussed the issue with them as recently as last semester, it shouldn't be a big deal. Just make sure to provide them with whatever materials they need (including each program's deadlines!) and let them know you appreciate the effort. 

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51 minutes ago, slouching said:

I would just send a brief email, something letting them know you're getting ready to apply and asking if they're still willing to do the LOR. If you discussed the issue with them as recently as last semester, it shouldn't be a big deal. Just make sure to provide them with whatever materials they need (including each program's deadlines!) and let them know you appreciate the effort. 

Great idea! Thank you.

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1 hour ago, slouching said:

I would just send a brief email, something letting them know you're getting ready to apply and asking if they're still willing to do the LOR. If you discussed the issue with them as recently as last semester, it shouldn't be a big deal. Just make sure to provide them with whatever materials they need (including each program's deadlines!) and let them know you appreciate the effort. 

To add to that, if the professor agrees,  you can also ask if they have a timeline in mind when you should expect the letter. That way you can write it down and follow-up as the date gets closer to their deadline without "bugging" them.

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14 minutes ago, _kita said:

To add to that, if the professor agrees,  you can also ask if they have a timeline in mind when you should expect the letter. That way you can write it down and follow-up as the date gets closer to their deadline without "bugging" them.

I've found that it's more helpful to professors if you simply tell them, "I'm planning to submit by X date. Does that work for you?" That way they don't feel flustered trying to figure out when they should write it by. 

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8 minutes ago, DDolores said:

I've found that it's more helpful to professors if you simply tell them, "I'm planning to submit by X date. Does that work for you?" That way they don't feel flustered trying to figure out when they should write it by. 

Yes and no. You can say, "can you get it to me by X?" but that felt really awkward to me. And the one time they were told the actual deadline, I ended up with a recommender not getting it written at all! That's why I usually liked a more casual negotiation around their schedule - aiming for a month ahead of time.

 

 

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Let me tell you all what happened to me. I had a professor agree to send LORs for me last year. This professor sent the first three letters and did not send any more, even though I reminded each recommender of the deadline. This was between semesters, but I had given the recommenders a schedule of when deadlines were for each program and I finalized my application days in advance. Luckily I only had one letter miss a deadline before I got another professor to fill in at the last moment. You might ask what happened with the application where I was missing a LOR. As it turns out, that is the program  I am now attending. Not all catastrophes end so well. Most of the time, if you are missing a LOR, your application will end up in the trash. That is what I thought would happen in this instance, but they liked me anyway. My daughter thinks it's simply because my application was that good. I don't. This is one of those times where I believe it was a God thing or fate if you prefer.

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I’m having the same problem.  It’s Friday.  My application deadline is Sunday.  My part of the application is complete, two of my academic LORs have submitted, but the third hasn’t.  I’ve been sending polite reminders at intervals since the professor agreed and each time the professor says she’ll have it in by the deadline, but I’m really starting to freak out.  I sent an email this past Wednesday asking if I could help in any way or send any more information, and she said she’d be sure to submit by Sunday, but I’m thinking of everything that could go wrong.  I'm really considering sending another email today but I don't want to seem pushy.  Tomorrow I'll definitely send an email though.  Gosh I hope the professor sends it. 

 

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1 hour ago, DDolores said:

I've found that it's more helpful to professors if you simply tell them, "I'm planning to submit by X date. Does that work for you?" That way they don't feel flustered trying to figure out when they should write it by. 

Good idea! Thanks so much!

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1 hour ago, _kita said:

Yes and no. You can say, "can you get it to me by X?" but that felt really awkward to me. And the one time they were told the actual deadline, I ended up with a recommender not getting it written at all! That's why I usually liked a more casual negotiation around their schedule - aiming for a month ahead of time.

 

 

That's a good idea. I'll probably give a due date a month ahead of when its due then ask approximately when they can submit it.

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53 minutes ago, cowgirlsdontcry said:

Let me tell you all what happened to me. I had a professor agree to send LORs for me last year. This professor sent the first three letters and did not send any more, even though I reminded each recommender of the deadline. This was between semesters, but I had given the recommenders a schedule of when deadlines were for each program and I finalized my application days in advance. Luckily I only had one letter miss a deadline before I got another professor to fill in at the last moment. You might ask what happened with the application where I was missing a LOR. As it turns out, that is the program  I am now attending. Not all catastrophes end so well. Most of the time, if you are missing a LOR, your application will end up in the trash. That is what I thought would happen in this instance, but they liked me anyway. My daughter thinks it's simply because my application was that good. I don't. This is one of those times where I believe it was a God thing or fate if you prefer.

I'm glad it wound up working out for you! I guess I'll remember to intermittently remind my professors before all of my apps after due.

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15 minutes ago, aspiring_librarian said:

I’m having the same problem.  It’s Friday.  My application deadline is Sunday.  My part of the application is complete, two of my academic LORs have submitted, but the third hasn’t.  I’ve been sending polite reminders at intervals since the professor agreed and each time the professor says she’ll have it in by the deadline, but I’m really starting to freak out.  I sent an email this past Wednesday asking if I could help in any way or send any more information, and she said she’d be sure to submit by Sunday, but I’m thinking of everything that could go wrong.  I'm really considering sending another email today but I don't want to seem pushy.  Tomorrow I'll definitely send an email though.  Gosh I hope the professor sends it. 

 

 

 

Oh no, I hope everything works out for you! If she said yes then it seems like she's probably waiting until the last second to submit it. If she doesn't submit it by tomorrow afternoon, I would recommend emailing her again for sure.

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I gave mine a schedule of deadline dates, the emails they received from the programs had deadline dates. They had received my information in order to write the LORs back in September. It was simply a nightmare for me. It all turned out really well in the end even without the third LOR.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ugh- LOR are tough since you have to rely on someone else to follow through for you. My best rec is to ask one additional person to write a letter -that way, you have some protection if that one person doesnt follow through and youre left hanging.  As for how to politely prompt a prof? Very tough- each person is different- a polite email is always good but me personally (I'm a univ prof who does this stuff all the time), I prefer a pop in with a gentle reminder.  That way, I get to refresh my memory and put a face to the name.  Now, I can honestly say that I dont think I've ever missed a deadline with a LOR or had a student remind me to submit one, but if a student did need to pop in and remind me, I might be a bit embarrassed and would probably bump up my impressions of that student in my letter. just human nature I suppose.  I actually go through a real LOR and explain away some of the myth on my website-- www.slpgradschool.com - may give all some insight. good luck-- 

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