Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
astroid88

LOR issue

Recommended Posts

Hi y'all,

I have a question about how to handle a specific LOR. I know you all don't know this person and their specific habits, so I'm just looking for suggestions on possible avenues of action. 

I had a mentor in undergrad who helped me on my senior thesis. I was also a TA for this person. We had a good relationship. This person has written LORs for me in the past. 

Sadly this professor was just a visiting professor, and their contract ended this past summer. The university did not renew. This did not detour me from asking for a LOR for my apps this fall. 

Said professor usually takes a while to respond but eventually gets back (might be something like two weeks later). As they do not have an e-mail with the university anymore (I asked other professors who knew them for their new email. They did not know it.), I messaged them on FB them halfway through September, in order to give them time. I did this with all my professors, though only over FB with this specific professor. No response, though the first message is read on FB. I waited a month and then sent another. They did not even open it this time.

We've communicated on FB in the past, and I knew through any medium it always takes a bit for them to respond. The messages I sent were generic: "Hey, how are you doing? I'm applying to some schools, etc". I gave them the option to say no, but I just asked they tell me that they can't do it, so I can get a definitive answer and ask someone else. I've always thanked them for their LORs. 

This LOR is probably my most important, as I was closest to them, they helped me on my senior project, and also taught me in language courses relevant to my research. I was hoping they would cover langauge abilities and research abilities in the LOR. 

What should I do? I've though of asking my other LORs (who are friends with this person) to message them. I've also debated sending a third, and final, message. 

I don't know if I contacted too early? My other professors responded, and I like to be courteous and give them a heads up. Any who, some suggestions might be helpful.

Thanks 

Edited by astroid88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regardless of your medium (and I sure hope that whatever your profs see on your Facebook wall looks tame), it may be possible that this once-visiting professor is very, very busy trying to find a new job.  Fall is also a job application season for many seeking professorships and those applications are overwhelmingly complex.  Was this professor a young PhD without tenure?  If so, I would move on,.  Another option is to reach out to your major adviser to see if s/he can speak with that professor to get some information about your work with him/her for his/her own letter.  Untenured professors generally hestitate to write for PhD applications; they are not quite (psychologically) secure enough to write their senior colleagues in support of your candidacy when they are trying to build their own careers.

At this point, I would start conversations with other potential letter writers to gauge their interest in writing strong and positive letters for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, TMP said:

Regardless of your medium (and I sure hope that whatever your profs see on your Facebook wall looks tame), it may be possible that this once-visiting professor is very, very busy trying to find a new job.  Fall is also a job application season for many seeking professorships and those applications are overwhelmingly complex.  Was this professor a young PhD without tenure?  If so, I would move on,.  Another option is to reach out to your major adviser to see if s/he can speak with that professor to get some information about your work with him/her for his/her own letter.  Untenured professors generally hestitate to write for PhD applications; they are not quite (psychologically) secure enough to write their senior colleagues in support of your candidacy when they are trying to build their own careers.

At this point, I would start conversations with other potential letter writers to gauge their interest in writing strong and positive letters for you.

Thanks for the advice. 

It's just both inconvenient and sad, as this relationship was more than just small talk. I find it weird they didn't just say no instead of keeping me dangling.

Edited by astroid88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, astroid88 said:

Hi y'all,

I have a question about how to handle a specific LOR. I know you all don't know this person and their specific habits, so I'm just looking for suggestions on possible avenues of action. 

I had a mentor in undergrad who helped me on my senior thesis. I was also a TA for this person. We had a good relationship. This person has written LORs for me in the past. 

Sadly this professor was just a visiting professor, and their contract ended this past summer. The university did not renew. This did not detour me from asking for a LOR for my apps this fall. 

Said professor usually takes a while to respond but eventually gets back (might be something like two weeks later). As they do not have an e-mail with the university anymore (I asked other professors who knew them for their new email. They did not know it.), I messaged them on FB them halfway through September, in order to give them time. I did this with all my professors, though only over FB with this specific professor. No response, though the first message is read on FB. I waited a month and then sent another. They did not even open it this time.

We've communicated on FB in the past, and I knew through any medium it always takes a bit for them to respond. The messages I sent were generic: "Hey, how are you doing? I'm applying to some schools, etc". I gave them the option to say no, but I just asked they tell me that they can't do it, so I can get a definitive answer and ask someone else. I've always thanked them for their LORs. 

This LOR is probably my most important, as I was closest to them, they helped me on my senior project, and also taught me in language courses relevant to my research. I was hoping they would cover langauge abilities and research abilities in the LOR. 

What should I do? I've though of asking my other LORs (who are friends with this person) to message them. I've also debated sending a third, and final, message. 

I don't know if I contacted too early? My other professors responded, and I like to be courteous and give them a heads up. Any who, some suggestions might be helpful.

Thanks 

I recommend that you try to find ways to balance your needs with those of whom you ask for support.

Based upon your description, this person is going through a multifaceted personal and professional crisis.

However, by your comments, you seem a bit tone deaf. You say that the relationship was good. You had an opportunity to strengthen the bond by showing empathy and by offering support to this unnamed person and by finding someone else to write a LOR. Instead, you did not detour from pursuing the fulfillment of your needs. Instead, you summarize this person's situation as "inconvenient" to you. This person has helped you achieve your goals and now that person, again, by your words, has left you "dangling" and, unlike you, has not been "courteous."

What you should do? Find a physical address or working email address and send a message to this person in which you sincerely thank the person for helping you. acknowledge that your choice not to detour was a bad call given his or her circumstances, offer emotionally appropriate support, and express the hope that down the line the two of you can reconnect. Write this message without expectation that you'll ever hear from this person again and understand that peace will come from the writing itself.

Then go and find another professor to write that third LOR.

Down the line, when an undergraduate whom you have helped makes it subtly but abundantly clear that his or her expectations of you are vastly more important than your own personal concerns and professional ambitions, recall your reaction to this post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sigaba said:

Based upon your description, this person is going through a multifaceted personal and professional crisis.

Sorry if it came off that way in my writing. They are employed at another school. I meant the fact that they are employed elsewhere did not detour me. I was hesistant about getting a rec from someone not at the school I graduated from.

Thanks for the input any who.

Edited by astroid88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/23/2017 at 7:43 PM, astroid88 said:

Sorry if it came off that way in my writing. They are employed at another school. I meant the fact that they are employed elsewhere did not detour me. I was hesistant about getting a rec from someone not at the school I graduated from.

Thanks for the input any who.

Thanks for the clarification. As the rest of your comments remain unmodified, and if the person in question is not communicating with you, i still recommend that you reach out to this person, withdraw the request, thank him for his help, and then get back in touch with him later.

More generally, I would worry about the bolded portion only if the writer's new job was a significant step down in prestige as viewed by practitioners of your areas of specialization.

Edited by Sigaba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.