My professor is extremely busy and has still not send the letter (application deadline was 15 Dec).

What can I do here? I am mailing him polite reminders and he is very willing to help but unfortunately very bad managing his time.

This letter is crucial. Should I contact the department letting them know or something? I am getting desperate.

  • 7
    You cannot make them send the letter. Jan 8, 2018 at 20:10
  • 2
    How do you think contacting the department will work? Apart from a polite reminder and a prayer to the deity of your choice there is pretty much nothing you can do. Jan 8, 2018 at 20:13
  • You may want to offer cash incentive.
    – SmallChess
    Jan 9, 2018 at 6:39
  • @SmallChess Are you serious? I actually need it so badly I have no issue with this?!
    – SuperHeroY
    Jan 9, 2018 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


At this point, you should probably give up on your hope that the professor will send the letter. If he hasn’t done it three weeks after the deadline despite repeated reminders, then I think a revision of your assessment that “he is very willing to help” is in order. Without trying to psychoanalyze him, all that one can say is that for all intents and purposes he is behaving like someone who is not at all willing to help, so that should be your working assumption from now on. Sadly. :-(

My recommendation is to look ASAP for someone else who can write you a decent letter of recommendation. At the same time, it may be a good idea to contact the department, explain the situation (including enough specific detail about the professor’s strange behavior to make it likely that they will be sympathetic to your situation and willing to be forgiving about this), apologize profusely, and say you are working on getting a letter from someone else as soon as possible, and that you hope that they will still be able to consider your application.

Good luck.

  • I have experienced letters being sent in over a month late. Hope is not entirely lost.
    – Thomas
    Jan 9, 2018 at 16:54
  • @Thomas true. But hope is not a strategy.
    – Dan Romik
    Jan 9, 2018 at 17:33

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