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I was planning to apply for a Ph.D. program and I asked a Prof to write me a letter of recommendation. The prof already agreed. After that, I didn't feel confident about applying and informed the professor to not write LOR for me.

Deep inside, I still want to apply but I haven't made up my mind yet. Will the professor feel annoyed if I ask for a LOR again? Should I tell the professor that I haven't decided yet but in any case, can they still submit their LOR.

I know professors are busy and I don't want to bother them too much.

  • When is the deadline? Six months, next Friday? – Azor Ahai -him- Dec 20 '17 at 19:24
  • at the end of this month :( – old man Dec 21 '17 at 0:08
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Probably yes.

Writing a strong letter of recommendation demands some effort. Make sure of your decision before asking for your professor to invest his time in it.

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    My prof is very friendly. When I notified her that I would not apply, she still said that if I would need a letter, she would write it. But basically, I can only decide that whether or not to submit my application on the last day but I cannot inform my prof on the last day to write LOR for me. I am still waiting for results of a standard test which the results will be realsed on the last day of the application deadline. If it is too low, then I would not apply – old man Dec 19 '17 at 23:22
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    @old man So let her be aware of the situation. It's understandable. – The Doctor Dec 19 '17 at 23:27
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Speaking as somebody who's written a good number of letters of recommendation, here is what I would suspect this looks like from the professor's point of view. At the time when you decided that you wouldn't apply, either:

  1. The professor hadn't yet written the letter, in which case there's likely no effort wasted, or
  2. The professor had already written the letter, in which case it's just sitting there ready to go (or even already submitted).

If you have a good relationship with the professor, as it sounds like you have, then you should be able to explain the situation, and they will likely understand and be able to plan appropriately. If they have dealt with many students before, they will likely understand this type of situation and may even have useful advice for you as you approach your decision. For me, at least, and I suspect for many other recommenders, the most important thing is clear communication.

Bottom line: you are unlikely to have problems with the professor if you explain your situation clearly.

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