I have done a short summer research internship at a department of a famous University in Europe. Unfortunately, this was last summer and I reminded my professor several times now to give me some sort of written confirmation that I actually stayed at his department.(3 times per E-Mail and one time, when I left him). He always said that he will do it, but he always pointed out that he is very busy currently.

Do you think this sounds true? I mean, it has been half a year now and apparently there is not much to do about it instead of just waiting or is there? I also just asked for a few lines, not a confirmation letter of anything similar and I also told him that I would need this for my home university(Which was true)- but he did not really react upon that.

I do not want to pressure him by being more "rude" in my mails, this is not the way I deal with such situation, but I think his behaviour is very annoying and I want this piece of paper now.

How would you deal with that?

2 Answers 2


I would address this by contacting the professor's administrative assistant or secretary. Usually, such "form letters" do not need to be actively written by the professor in question—just signed by the professor. The assistant can prepare the letter, and get the faculty member's signature; in some cases, the assistant may even have a digital signature available, so the professor's direct involvement isn't even necessary.

  • 12
    A similar option would be for the OP to draft such a letter themselves that could be printed on letter-head and signed. (Even if it were not used, it would have the effect of guilting the professor into action.)
    – badroit
    Feb 28, 2014 at 14:43
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    Note that you may not even need to contact the professor's office at all; if you were a student in a graduate department, a letter from the department office or department chair may suffice.
    – eykanal
    Feb 28, 2014 at 15:17
  • This is a good approach in general: only ask the busy person if you actually need the busy person, otherwise be creative in finding someone near that person who can handle it. Feb 28, 2014 at 15:22
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    Also a take-home message: get all your proof documents (whether you needed them at that moment or not) while you're still physically there. Feb 28, 2014 at 16:17
  • Most professors really are pretty busy. So, if you want something from them, make it as easy as possible for them to fulfil your request while staying respectful. In a case like your's, prepare a letter and ask them to sign it (or to copy the text electronically in their own letter template).
    – Ned64
    Feb 27, 2017 at 9:43

Hah! It took me 4 years to get a confirmation for my exchange student year to get my degree. After numerous emails and even official letters from my University which all got ignored, the only thing that finally worked was a flight back and running around there for a week, where everyone was telling me they had no trace of my stay whatsoever and putting the responsibility on someone else. So I hope you don't need to do those extreme measures but stay prepared and first go to your departement and let them write a formal letter. Also phone calls may work better than emails. Good luck!

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