Aug 29, 2009
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So I was just wondering what would be the best method to remind my letter writers that I will be wanting their letters within the next month or so. I never gave them a written deadline; however I did tell them around May or early June would be best because I want to have all my application information submitted as early as possible. I asked one of my letter writers at the end of January and she said it will be a work in progress the semester, but I am afraid she has not even looked into it yet. Should I just go in and talk to her in person or shoot her an email? I'm comfortable doing either, I just don't want to sound to "pushy" in a sense. Should I go ahead and give her more time, maybe wait until after finals? Thanks for the advice.

Sean
 

RB93

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Dec 22, 2009
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I just had to go through this with multiple recommenders. People definitely get busy and it can slip their mind, so you should definitely recommend them. I sent one reminder about 3 weeks to a month before, and another a week before (for those who hadn't done it). I did all of mine via email because I don't live near all of my recommenders, and also it puts them on the spot less, but in-person could work too (especially if you are a current student). Another advantage to email is that you can reiterate the letter return directions, due date, etc.

Also, you should definitely give a firm deadline (with some cushion room for yourself). Being vague about it makes them more likely to put it off. This whole process was stressful and I agree you don't want to annoy them, but none of mine were offended by reminders (as long as you are polite and don't send them too frequently). If you don't remind they definitely could forget. Good luck!
 

gnu

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Mar 24, 2009
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I had to do this with multiple professors. I wasn't living in the area so I mostly had to rely on email and the few opportunities I had to visit campus. I would send short little update emails to them just updating them with what I was doing. It was real informal but would just give them info on my research or what I was doing for fun. I felt it helped them remember. One professor rarely checked his email, so I sent him another letter writing packet (transcripts, resume, ps, etc.) and confirmed with his secretary that he picked it up. I wrote a little note on it saying I couldnt remember if I passed this on to you yet, thanks again. Something like that.

I've found though in a lot of cases they like the reminder, if anything it shows that you really want the letter.
 

BlueElmo

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I would just drop a short email reminding them.
 

Pills Of Soap

iBrawl
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Email or visit during office hours are the best ways.

I told one of my profs sometime in march last year, and he kept saying he'd work on it next week every time I visited him. He ending up saving up a whole bunch of requests and writing them all at once. I didnt get it until June/July.

Keep reminding them, but don't stress it too much. A lot of them have written letters before and know when its really needed.
 

flip26

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Dec 20, 2007
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Email or visit during office hours are the best ways.

I told one of my profs sometime in march last year, and he kept saying he'd work on it next week every time I visited him. He ending up saving up a whole bunch of requests and writing them all at once. I didnt get it until June/July.

Keep reminding them, but don't stress it too much. A lot of them have written letters before and know when its really needed.
This is pretty common. If that is the prof's plan, he should tell you, though.

Don't go overboard pestering these people - it is way too early to be bugging someone about it. When you originally asked for the letter, you should have had a discussion about "when" you would need it.

Honestly, I was as crazed a premed as anybody last year, and you really do not need the letters turned into AMCAS until late June or early July - I didn't send any letters to any schools before around July 10 or so, and I was filling out secondaries as soon as I got them in early July. So don't give a prof an unreasonably early deadline like May 15 - he knows that is bullspit anyway.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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We utilize a committee letter at my school which also requires being interviewed by the committee in the spring before applying this summer so LOR's have to be in before this interview...so in some cases they do need to be in pretty early.
 

byurazorhog

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Apr 23, 2009
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Our school has a health advising committee that enforces a letter service deadline at the end of this month. I personally visited all of my writers on or shortly before the 1st of april and had a short chat with them. I also gave them a firm and specific deadline. I think it is important that people know when to submit them. I plan on reminding them by email 1 week before the deadline. I actually made up my own deadline date for most of them which is a about a few days earlier than the actual date just in case. You can never be too careful especially after a good friend of mine was screwed over for graduate school simply because one of her writers didn't send hers out and my friend was 1 letter short of requirements, rendering her ineligible for consideration.
 

JJMrK

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Would every 2 weeks be considered annoying?
Maybe, depending on how long you gave them.

IMO: Ideally, request them ~2 months before you actually need them and give a 4-5 week deadline. Go visit the person's office after 3-4 weeks, and then again if they are late 1-2 weeks before you actually need the letters.