Letter writer MIA

tarheelbaby

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Hey everyone, I know there’s several threads about letter writers not responding and asking for advice, but I couldn’t find any that quite matched my situation. I was wondering if anyone had any advice for what I should do. Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

TLDR; what should I do?
5/12 - emailed professor
5/26 - re-emailed professor
5/26 - professor accepts LOR request
Radio silence
6/3 - re-emailed professor
6/11 - still no word

I had a class with this professor that ended in May and she and I had a pretty good relationship and I did really well in her class. On 5/12 I emailed her asking if she’d write me a LOR and she didn’t reply. I wanted to take that as a “no” but everywhere I looked people encouraged at least a follow-up email to make sure they actually saw the request. So, on 5/26 I sent a follow-up just politely asking if she received the first email even though I felt super uncomfortable doing that. She replied 10 minutes later saying she was so happy I followed up because she would love to write me a letter and had completely forgotten to reply to the first email(!!!) She also told me she would send me a list of questions but she first needed to know when the letter needed to be completed. I responded instantly and told her that the AADSAS doesn’t open until 6/16 and that basically she can take as much time as she needed.

It’s now 6/11, so over 2 weeks since she replied and said she would send me a list of questions, and I still haven’t heard from her. On 6/3 I emailed her AGAIN just sending over my resume and personal statement in case she wanted them (thinking that would prompt her to send over those questions she mentioned) and also asking if it would be alright if I go ahead and add her “request” into Interfolio. She didn’t respond to that either (1 week ago).

What on EARTH am I supposed to think about all that?! She was a super genuine professor and she also sounded legitimately happy to write me a letter in that one email. But like.. do I assume something happened and she’s been unable to get my emails or something? Do I email her again? Do I enter her stuff into Interfolio in the hopes that the email from them will do the job? I’m honestly a little bit annoyed and super bummed by the whole thing because I think it’s SO unacceptable that professors sometimes think they are above the common decency of responding to an email. Is this normal behavior? Like, is it possible that she’s been radio silent just because she’s been busy writing the letter and hasn’t felt the need to respond? I don’t think so because she never sent those questions that she wanted to ask.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please let me know if you have any advice/similar experiences!
 

S_Diamond_DDS

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It’s common for professors to take their time in responding. It’s also common for them to agree to write a letter and then totally “ghost” you. In my opinion, be proactive about it and send her the interfolio request with a follow up email with concise instructions, saying I need your letter to meet the requirements, here’s where you submit, and give the date you need it by (7/1?), etc. However, do not assume she’ll ever submit a letter. That being said, find a back up letter writer if you can (especially since you’re using interfolio), and give them the same submit date that way hopefully you have at least one letter by the time you have to submit your app.
 
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pookey123

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since you asked, i think 3 times now, please wait a little while. Maybe give it 2 weeks. Profs are busy people. if they said they would write it, hopefully they do. They may just be busy, but yes they could be ghosting you.

I would suggest sending one last reminder (just thank them for agreeing to write you a letter, and remind them of your deadline; don't send them any more documents or ask for anything else) if you haven't heard anything in 2 weeks. another 2 weeks after that if still silence, odds are you won't be getting any letter from them. If you really need a lor still, start asking around rn

You really should have asked sooner. try to ask 2-3 months before your deadline. profs generally mean well but can be really slow to respond. I know a prof who gets asked by literally a thousand students every single year. and he writes a thousand! I think one of the profs I asked was newer, and I was probably the first dental student she ever wrote a letter for. I kind of had to convince her at first, but she ended up writing me a good one and was super great! It also helps to let profs know you intend to ask them for a letter before you actually do. in short, the earlier the better. good luck next time
 

pookey123

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nother story: one of my letter writers went on sabbatical but had already written it for me. they had forwarded it to another office, and I had to ask that office to send my letter. so was in perfect time for my app; but made it a hassle when I was applying for scholarships because I think they needed to change the letter's address or something
 

0Mik3cho

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  1. Dental Student
Had this happen to me. I asked my professor to write me a letter. She was super happy to do it because she saw my participation in class and in labs. Mid-semester when she was giving individual feedback to students, she told me she was especially happy with my work. 2 months after the class. Nothing. I follow up a month later and she tells me she's happy to do it and I'm happy too. 3 months later. Silence. It's frustrating but it is what it is. I just assume things came up but the professor is too embarrassed to retract her offer to write me a letter. It's annoying but I don't hold it against her since I know she definitely loves teaching and was an awesome professor to have.
 
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idunnowhattonamemyself

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I had the same situation, but I was desperate and didn't have other professors to fall back on for a LOR. I know others have said to cut your losses and look for a new LOR writer, but I'm fairly quiet in most of my classes except the two I got my letters from.

My professor is really genuine too, so I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming she just got busy or accidentally overlooked my reminders. I usually forward my previous email with a gentle nudge, "just making sure you saw my previous email", with a quick sentence about how things are hectic right now/how she might have a busy schedule. Acknowledge that you understand that the professor is busy right now, but it would mean a lot to you if you got a LOR from them.

For me, it was such a struggle - it went like this:
4/16 - emailed
4/17 - professor accepts LOR request
5/1 - professor asked some questions
5/13 - emailed a reminder
5/20 - emailed another reminder
5/20 - professor responded that he needed more time (I was okay with it because I am still really early in applying)
6/1 - emailed a reminder
6/8 - sent LOR request again
6/14 - professor responds saying it'll be in this Friday (fingers crossed!)

It might be smarter to get a LOR from someone else if you're struggling to get a hold of them, I definitely was (and currently am), but I don't really have too many options to ask. If you have to ability to get another writer, start preparing to ask them. But, if you truly think this writer who you're waiting for will write you a stronger LOR, I'll send a few more reminders.

It's frustrating, but good luck!
 
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