Before actually submitting anything, I contacted one of my ex-supervisors and he agreed to write a reference letter for me. That was almost a month ago. Then, the first time he received the invitation to submit a reference for me (invitation self-generated from the online application system), he promised he will submit it "soon" with enthusiasm.

However, days went by, after two weeks of the initial invitation, nothing was received. I therefore sent a reminder to him and he again said he will submit it in one to two days (he did mention he was a bit busy). Now a week has passed and still nothing. The deadline for getting the reference is closing soon (in two weeks).

What should I do? I have options to send him an email reminder personally (I cannot call him because we live in different countries right now). Or I can re-send an invitation via the application system. Which one would be more polite, as well as more effective in getting him to actually write it?

1 Answer 1


I'll guess you have done about all you can other than send a final notice very close to the deadline. The prof is probably targeting that "drop dead" date and continuous reminders may just get in the way. But a note on the next to last day would be good.

You might also start to think about other options. Who else might be able to do this for you?

  • +1 for next to last day. Deadlines are amongst the strongest legal stimulants. Nonetheless, having a plan B is always a good idea. Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 2:23

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