Thursday, November 20, 2008

Freaking Out - Could Use Immediate Advice

All of my December apps are done and ready to go. Except for one HUGE problem. Professor #3 who committed to writing letters more than 7 weeks ago is completely unheard from. 1st application is due BY MAIL 11 days from now. In the packet I provided to all of them I asked for the letters that I have to send in to be returned to me by 11/17. There are only 2 of them. Professors #1 and #2 have both provided me with theirs. Next week is Thanksgiving break. 

I e-mailed Professor #3 a very gentle reminder a few days ago, put in terms of "I wanted to make sure that you received all the online application invites and that there isn't anything else you need from me that would be helpful to you in the process...blah blah blah." Reminded very gently that the first deadline is 12/1. 

I have not gotten a response. I am freaking out. Maybe a bit prematurely, but still. The problem is that application #1 is entirely in paper form, with all materials including transcripts, essays, recommendation letters going out in one single packet mailed by me. Most of the others are some combination of hardcopy material and online stuff. I'm not as worried about those, especially since those deadlines don't start until 12/15. Grad school #1 therefore does not even know that I'm applying at this point, whereas all other December schools have absolutely everything already except for 1 recommendation letter. I hear that admissions programs are somewhat lenient about letters being late if all other materials were there early. 

So what do I do? I can't exactly stalk professor #3, and seeing as I already sent an email I don't know what else to do that doesn't cross a line. It's way too freakin late to try to get a letter from someone else. 

Any suggestions??


Procrastinating Postgrad said...

Nasty sitch.

I would contact Prof3 directly, if you can, to ask politely whether s/he still intends to provide letter.

Don't be ashamed- it's asking a favour for a Prof to write a letter, but having agreed, Profs letting applicants know if they have changed their mind is the very minimum of good manners.

Best of luck!

JLK said...

Yikes! You really think Prof 3 may have changed their mind?

What the hell do I do if that's the case??

Professor in Training said...

I've had exactly the same problem with slack referees in the past with both grad school and fellowship applications. All of the institutions/agencies were very understanding and sent reminder emails to me which I quickly forwarded onto the slacker which resulted in the letters being written and sent very quickly. But you shouldn't have to get to that point. Give Prof #3 a call and be firm ... make it clear that if s/he can't/won't provide a letter, you need to know NOW.

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