WTF happens if the recommendation letter writers miss the deadline?

  1. Physics_UG

    Physics_UG 289
    Gold Member

    Seriously, I have been constantly reminding my rec letter writers that they need to get this stuff done by the Dec 15th for the past 3 weeks, and only one of the three profs actually wrote and submitted my letter. Now it is past the deadline and they are assuring me that it will be done by Friday (which is still late). For some reason I don't trust them....

    Three weeks ago one of the recommenders told me that he had all of the rec letter notification emails from all of the schools, and now he is telling me he hasn't really been watching for them and doesn't know if he has them. wtf? I don't want Friday to roll around and end up finding out that none of the letters have been submitted AND the profs "accidentally" deleted all of the notification emails and "lost" all of the addressed and stamped envelopes I handed them like 3 weeks ago.

    I know I am not their priority, but I have been on them about this for weeks, and every time I go talk to them about it they tell me they know what they need to do and assure me that it will get done on time. :rolleyes:

    They all seem to be going on vacations on Friday, and they will probably just tell me I am SOL at that point. How the hell can a prof screw you over that bad?

    bah, I am just a little frustrated at the moment. Sorry about my incoherent ranting.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nothing really to contribute, I just remember having to deal with this crap. You don't want to come off as too pushy, but they just keep not getting it done...:p
  4. They sound sloppy.
  5. Ever hear of the term "postal"?

    I'd start researching, if I were you. ;)
  6. From everything I've been told, schools don't really care too much if the professors are a little bit late with their letters. Just get your application in on time and don't worry about it. The schools will let you know when it starts to matter if a letter is not in yet.

    I know how you feel - I'm going through a similar predicament now (although my professors did complete their letters, even if two of them were late!)
  7. IIRC, the submission deadline for most letters is later than the application deadline.
  8. Eh, I wouldn't worry about it. One of my letter writers effectively promised me that his letter would definitely be in late. Of course he also asked me to "manage" him by regularly pestering him to get it in. Anyway none of my schools cared that it was in late. As long as the fault is your professor's and not yours, you should be good.
  9. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You may have sloppy writers but from my perspective it is usually the student who is at fault. I get students asking me for letters only during the busiest time of the semester, like december, when grades are due and exams need grading, and they often want them immediately.

    I also get requests which do not include deadlines, or addresses, or envelopes which are not stamped. that is just thoughtless.

    you need to give them lots of lead time, and always give them the deadline and the address, and a stamped addressed envelope if a hard copy is wanted. basically they are doing you a favor, and they are really busy people, so you have no recourse at all if they do not do it to suit you. choose them more wisely next time, and be sure to give them plenty of time and all the info they need.

    more and more commonly this stuff is all done online, and letters are merely posted to a common site where they can be accessed by relevant parties. it is much easier if the prof can just write for you once and not worry about all the places to mail it.

    I also recommend stopping use of rude seeming abbreviations like the ones you begin this thread with. You never know who is reading this and identifying with the object of your frustration. The position you are in calls for diplomacy, not ranting.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  10. ^^ What times of the year are good to contact professors for recommendation letters? Not just for grad school, but also internships, awards, etc.
  11. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    long in advance. i would make the initial contact months ahead, so they will be expecting it. but tell them when you will actually be needing it, and where it will go. then they can write it in advance and know roughly when you will need it. then contact them again several weeks in advance of the deadline and request the actual letter, at least a month or 6 weeks ahead.

    when i get the actual request and address and deadline i usually write the letter almost immediately. but when it comes with no data, no deadline, no address, i have trouble planning for it.

    or contact the professor in advance and ask him when is the best time to give him the details, so he can make his own schedule.

    the absolute worst time is when he is writing giving and grading exams. this of course is when many people ask for them.
  12. So December and April are times to avoid? How about January and September when the new term is just starting?
  13. Physics_UG

    Physics_UG 289
    Gold Member

    Two of the three recommenders have submitted. There is one that hasn't submitted yet. He promised he would have it done by today but it didn't get done. He received a deadline and all of the necessary information to submit the letters over a month ago.

    And yes, they are doing me a favor, but if a prof tells me he will write the letters of recommendation then he should actually do it. Plus, writing letters of recommendation for students is part of the prof's job description, isn't it?
  14. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It sounds as if you have done all you could,. next time try aSKING an extra one or two so if one poops out you will still have enough. my apologies for my colleAGUES who let you down. i think you will be ok.
  15. I'm trying to find a hidden message in your capitalized letters...
  16. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    fat fingers, smALl keYS, PESKy caPs lock

    ALL my capitalized words are inadvertent (except that one).
  17. I've been wondering about Mathwonk's odd capitalization habits since I started reading this forum. Now I know!
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