I want to apply for a Ph.D. position in a US university (X) this year. Last year I started the application but did not finish and submit it. But my recommenders already sent their LORs and its already in the portal. Now this year as I want to apply again, I want to change one of my recommenders (A) because I think the new one (B) knows me better and can write a better one for me. Also, I heard A always writes a general LOR so it will not add much value to my application.

What can I do now? I hope the recommendation letters are in the portal but as the application was not submitted so the admission committee did not go through it?

Should I use my alternative email for the new application? Will it work?

  • 2
    Have you contacted the university to ask?
    – Jeroen
    Nov 12, 2021 at 6:58
  • 1
    Have you logged in to the account you made to see if any of the information you entered was retained? If so, then the same is probably true of the recommendations, and if not, they were also probably dumped.
    – Bill Barth
    Nov 12, 2021 at 15:12
  • Actually, I wanted to create a new account( as I totally forgot I had one last year), and then I realized I already had an account and as the referees can be late to submit the LORs, so I sent the requests at first. Last time I was late and could not manage a supervisor, so I didn't complete the application. Nov 12, 2021 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


I can't guarantee this, but expect that most places will start each cycle with a "clean slate", ignoring information that came in from previous application cycles. If that is the case you need a complete application for this cycle.

But this might not be the case everywhere, so you should ask the individual department this question: Are old materials discarded, including LoRs, and should you submit new ones. You can even say that you prefer new ones when you make the inquiry so that they don't get the idea that you prefer them to carry the old material forward.

I would avoid using a different email, lest it confuse them about who you are.

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