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I am asking this professor about whether he can write me a recommendation letter for PhD application. I sent the email on Wednesday morning. Should I wait more or should I send him a reminder email now?

The problem is that he is my number one option and I spent almost all of my time during my master trying to get his attention. I think that if he rejects me I will not be able to find another person that can write me a letter. Hence I am just afraid that if I write a reminder email too soon there is a chance that he gets angry because this professor always takes like 2 weeks to answer an email (if he does answer at all)

  • Seems a bit soon. Do you know it hasn't been sent? Is there a deadline approaching? – Buffy Oct 4 '20 at 18:24
  • Sorry maybe you misunderstood me, but he has not agreed to write me a letter yet. I am just asking if he is willing to do so – FARRAF Oct 4 '20 at 18:42
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    Unless it's urgent, give him at least until the end of the week. Note, they still may say "no", so prepare for Plan B. – Captain Emacs Oct 4 '20 at 19:08
  • No its not urgent Ill wait as per your suggestions. if he rejects maybe I dont do PhD anymore haha. – FARRAF Oct 4 '20 at 19:15
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Given the new understanding of the issue, I'd suggest that you write to him, apologizing for the mail, and with an explicit request to let you know if he will do this. Perhaps your first mail wasn't clear on that point.

But most professors receiving a request would normally assume that the default "yes, I can do that" is understood by the asker and only needs a reply if they won't or can't do it. I'll assume that is the case here if you haven't heard otherwise. But if you need this to be explicit, ask, but say you're sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Sorry maybe you misunderstood me, but he has not agreed to write me a letter yet. I am just asking if he is willing to do so – FARRAF Oct 4 '20 at 18:42
  • Hi, thank you for the suggestion. However in the initial email I did say “please let me know if you are willing to write a letter”. So I should repeat that same line again? – FARRAF Oct 4 '20 at 19:35
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    Actually, you should wait, unless the deadline is very soon. – Buffy Oct 4 '20 at 20:15
  • Thank you, I will wait for 1 week then. But then if he still does not answer, then how should I write the reminder? Should I write what you said (sorry for the inconvenience, are you willing to write me a recommendation letter?) – FARRAF Oct 4 '20 at 20:23
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    Something like that and a week is good. – Buffy Oct 4 '20 at 20:26

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