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I am applying to MS/MA programs and my first due date is tomorrow. All my matierals were submitted 2 weeks in advance,however, my final letter writer hasn’t submitted his LOR. My other two have both been submitted but I am worry they will not carry as much weight as they are coming from directors at my company (I have been out of school 3 years). My professor agreed to write me a letter late November and I i then sent him my resume/transcripts/statement of intent. I also sent him a thank you card over the holidays to express my gratitude. I have not heard back from him since early December, after he agreed to write my letters. I have sent him 1 reminder email on earlier this week as my first application is due tomorrow. He has not responded. I am wondering if it’s proper etiquette to call him? With the rest of my applications being due March 1st I am a little apprehensive that I may run into this issue every time.

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    > I am wondering if it’s proper etiquette to call him? ... Yes, you would do well to call your previous advisor. – Jeffrey J Weimer Feb 15 at 1:48
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    FYI, unless they are explicitly required to be there at the same time as your materials, it is often OK if letters arrive after your due date. – Azor Ahai Feb 18 at 2:50
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If you are able to, you might consider attending office hours if your professor has them openly available before the deadline. In the event that your professor misses this first deadline, I would try to get them to submit the letter to the other schools as soon as possible. It is likely that all of the letters will be basically similar (meaning that all letters should be already written), so an early submission to the other schools should not be an issue.

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Yes, call him. More generally, I see two scenarios,

  1. Your reminders were not received or seen, in this case my next steps would be to call, go directly to his office / after his class and look for him, or see if there is an administrative assistant in the department that can track him down.

  2. Your reminders were seen but he hasn't done it and is avoiding you, in this case, I'd keep politely reminding by phone or e-mail but expect that you may be ignored and then get an e-mail in the 11th hour saying it's done. Sometimes I don't reply to those types of e-mails until I've actually completed the task.

I think it can help to help letter writers by providing a simple document of talking points so that they won't have to spend so much time looking through their documents for details, e.g. "You know me from your Fall 2017 offering of XX class, where I got a grade of XX. I did my final project on XX and you said it was XX (see attached final paper). If possible, I am hoping that your letter could highlight my experience with XXX and my strengths at XXX, which I believe I demonstrated by XXX." This might speed up the process.

Finally, note that some schools do give a bit of leeway on LOR deadlines as this happens often.

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I suggest that you remind him by SMS first and then after couple of days you could call him if there is no answer. It is ok to call your professor as long as you do it with proper etiquette.

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    If the deadline is "tomorrow," text now, and call in two hours! – Bob Brown Feb 15 at 3:10

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