Here is the timeline of what happened.

Day 1: emailed and requested a LOR.

Day 3: got a response, prof. agreed to sign the LOR I draft for him.

Day 20: sent an email with my draft, asked to make changes if needed, sign and email it to me.

Day 27: sent a follow-up, politely reminded about the letter.

Today is day 33, and I still haven't heard anything back from him. Every email I sent was very polite, I wasn't pushy or aggressive. I don't know what to do or what to think. This is a LOR for immigration purposes. It doesn't have a set deadline, but it's very critical for me to get it before I file my papers. Does anyone have any advice? Did he ditch me?

  • 1
    Does he know you have a deadline? Or did you leave that unsaid?
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:40
  • @Buffy no, I didn't say anything about a deadline because there is none
    – Blue Bass
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:44
  • 2
    then two weeks since the last communication is just "academic time". You haven't been ignored, probably. He is just slow. Ask again if time is an issue - politely - and give a deadline if necessary (!necessary!).
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:46
  • @Buffy sounds good, I might just come up with a deadline myself then if that's what it takes..
    – Blue Bass
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:47
  • That would probably be a mistake. Dragons might nap, but it is a mistake to wake them prematurely.
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


First, the academic "clock" can run very slow. This is especially true at certain time of the year and COVID has made things worse. Conference travel used to be pretty common at this time of year, and catching up on writing and such also.

But professors generally (not universally), meet their schedule obligations provided that they know of them and will put off non essential things for higher priority tasks.

If you need something on a schedule, make sure the prof knows that schedule. Otherwise, patience is still a virtue. Don't be a pest, but a friendly reminder every few weeks is probably fine. And make sure that any deadlines are known. Be honest about them, of course.


Is it possible to get another professor to write one for you? If I were you, I would ask another professor if possible, show your draft, and explain that you need it. When you ask, ask them something like, "Would you be able to write the letter within 3 weeks?" This way you're not setting a specific deadline, but you also make it clear that you want it within a certain amount of time.

Edit: Also, there is usually a secretary who writes these things. Maybe ask them.

From experience, I know that some professors will not respond to these e-mails until the absolute last minute, out of bad habits. Some professors take responding to e-mail more seriously than others.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .