I asked her 2-3 years ago whether she would do that for me, when I was still a BA student, she said yes. I then did not need that letter because I had personal problems, now I am out of uni for some time but would like to apply for grad school. Should I somehow remind her that she once agreed to do that, or ask whether she would 'still' be willing to write me a letter, or will it come across impolite?

I don't want to be impolite, I would just like to somehow remind her that we talked about it previously and maybe remind her a little bit of who I am, since it's been a few years and I cannot show up in person.


There's no reason why you can't ask:

Dear Prof. X:

I was a student of yours for class Y in term Z. While I was still an undergraduate, we had talked about the possibility of you writing a letter of recommendation for me. At the time, I did not end up applying to graduate schools at the time, but will be doing so . Would you be willing to write a letter for me now? I can provide you with an updated résumé/CV.

with appropriate modifications.

You can definitely mention that she previously agreed to write a letter—you might be refreshing her memory, in case she gets a number of requests for such letters!


Professors are exceptionally busy, and can sometimes hardly remember recent e-mails, so it is unlikely that reminding her you asked for a letter of recommendation will help to trigger recollections of you as a student.

I don't see any reason why she should refuse to write a letter of recommendation now, given the details you have provided. If she cannot remember personal details about you, she can still write a more factually based response, based for example, on your grades in her courses.

I'd write an e-mail that's concise, asking for the letter of recommendation, and doing your best to provide any details to remind her of who you are, or in a follow up if she requires it.

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