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Haven't heard back from LoR writers, due soon

  1. Dec 9, 2015 #1
    Grad school apps are due next Tuesday for me, and my letter writers offered months ago to write me a letter. I again made sure they were still willing a few months ago, and over a month ago put their names into the systems (14 schools). I emailed them a reminder this past week and haven't heard back, and they still haven't submitted them. One of them is really far away (~2500 miles) and another is in a different country, so I can't visit.

    Normally I would chill out and save the frantic phone calls for Tuesday, but 14 schools. So many opportunities to forget a password for another login system, or for a website to be down, or for the apocalypse to happen.

    :headbang:

    Is there anything that I can be doing while I don't sleep for the next 6 days, or am I SOL?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2015 #2
    Allow me to share a story with you.

    Once upon a time, a nervous little Dishsoap watched as the deadline for her scholarship LoRs approached, and noticed that one professor (~1600 miles away) still hadn't submitted his letter. Little Dishsoap was afraid, and drove for 19 hours straight to that university and knocked on the professor's office door about three hours before the deadline. The professor informed a scatterbrained and exhausted Dishsoap that he had just submitted the letter and had just gotten back to campus after his wife had a baby, and thus didn't answer her phone calls. Dishsoap then had to travel 19 hours back home.

    I'm also in the same situation as you, but now I know better. They'll get around to it, and there's nothing you can do. As long as you've reminded them plenty of times, maybe remind them once more a day or two before the deadline, and then drop it. Also remember that (at least for everywhere I'm applying) the letters are often due after the application itself.
     
  4. Dec 9, 2015 #3

    e.bar.goum

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    Welcome to academia, where everything is done right before the due date, because only then does it rise to the top of the (perilously large) to-do list. Dishsoap's advice is good. Phoning & emailing again a day or so before the due date is a good idea.
     
  5. Dec 9, 2015 #4

    Choppy

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    14 different schools?

    I hope that these professors were aware that you intended for them to write this many references! Or that these different schools accept a generic reference. When I've agreed to write reference letters for students in the past it's been for 3-4 schools and while the formats are similar, they are not identical, which means that I had to tailor each reference to the specific school. And that can take a non-trivial amount of time. If on average it takes a half hour, then spread over 14 schools you're looking at nearly a full day of work!

    Now imagine if these professors have more than one student to do this for.

    At best, you can remind them. Otherwise, it's in their hands.
     
  6. Dec 9, 2015 #5
    Is this really so strange? I asked my professors for 12... this doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Don't most students apply for this many?
     
  7. Dec 9, 2015 #6

    Choppy

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    Not in my experience. Maybe it's different in the US?
     
  8. Dec 9, 2015 #7

    e.bar.goum

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    From reading PF for a while, I get the impression that students in the US apply to a huge amount of universities for grad school compared to elsewhere (I applied to just one university for my PhD in Australia, and so did most people I know. Actually applying tends to happen after you have been accepted by a supervisor) . Certainly, 12-14 different reference letters seems like a bit of an imposition!
     
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