Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What should I do if my professor doesn't reply

  1. Aug 20, 2016 #1
    Hi, I'm currently a undergrad student and the story is that there is this professor from another university which I did some summer research with him, and I guess we had a pretty nice relationship. I sent emails just to greet him and share interesting things from time to time, and he'd reply to them just like a friend. Last time, he even wrote a reference letter for my application for exchange programme. However, about 4 days ago, I sent another email asking him about some stuff for grad school application, e.g. tips for research proposals, reference letter...etc., and I haven't heard anything from him yet. I know 4 days might not be very long, but I'm pretty sure he checks his email frequently and my past experience was that he usually replies within 2 days. I'm very anxious right now, could anyone share some opinion on this? Also, if he doesn't reply in a week(seems to be very possible right now), I'm planning to write a follow-up letter to remind him. Will that be impolite or even rude? If not, how should I phrase it up?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Have you considered, that he might be on vacation or otherwise tied up with personal matters?
    ... which also means, that you are now oriented otherwise. This could also mean, and I'm not saying that it does, he is spending more of his tight time on his current students rather than answering emails of students he possibly won't see again. Eventually there is some disappointment on his side, which is impossible to judge for outsiders like me. However, my own experience tells me that these are possible reasons. After all, even professors are only humans.
  4. Aug 21, 2016 #3
    I've also thought about that, it's actually quite possible since I heard that he's going to be attending some conference recently. Does this kind of situation occur a lot? If it is really due to this reason(of course I will feel relieved that way), will I need to remind him like a week later or should I just wait patiently?

    The reason why I feel so anxious is that I'm just afraid if I did something unintentionally that disappoints him.

    I know these questions might be asking a bit too much to an outsider, but still thanks a lot!
  5. Aug 21, 2016 #4
    Fresh had good points. There's probably a reason why he hasn't replied yet. It's normal that it takes a long time for a professor to reply. I wouldn't contact him again before 10-14 days pass. Writing to him earlier might be considered annoying and impatient.
  6. Aug 21, 2016 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Just use some lame excuse like you have been having problems with you email lately and you just wanted to make sure that he got your email. say something like:

    ''prof. [insert name here] apologies for bothering you again, I realize how busy you must be, but I I just wanted to make sure that you received my email about blah blah blah cause I've been having some trouble with my email lately and the one I sent you bounced back. anyways, I would really appreciate it if you can advise me on blaha blah blah as soon as you have some free time. thank you so much for your invaluable help. I hope is not too much bother. blah blah...

  7. Aug 21, 2016 #6
    OK, got it.

    Thank you all for these nice advice!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted