I'm in the process of applying to graduate schools and had secured a commitment from my thesis advisor for a recommendation letter. However, I've noticed delays in their submissions, with a few instances where deadlines have passed without the recommendation being sent.

While I understand professors are busy, and it's not critical if the deadline hasn't lapsed, this delay has caused some anxiety, especially when nearing the deadline. I value my advisor's recommendation given their significant role in my academic journey, and I believe it would bolster my applications compared to others.

I've had to send multiple reminders on the last date, and I'm contemplating whether it would be appropriate to reach out to them to kindly request submitting the recommendation at least a day before the deadline for future applications. I'm considering this approach to alleviate any last-minute worries and ensure smoother application processes.

Is it advisable to ask for an earlier submission deadline for recommendation letters from a thesis advisor, considering their busy schedule and its importance for my applications?

  • 2
    I would not recommend asking for an earlier submission (also, it probably wouldn’t work). Instead, send them a reminder say 10 days and then 3 days before the submission deadline.
    – user126108
    Dec 8, 2023 at 13:18
  • You seem to be discussing different cases here. Has this professor been late for you or is it just their reputation? Have you had to send multiple reminders to this person on the deadline date or is that your experience with others?
    – Buffy
    Dec 9, 2023 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


I think that asking them "could you please send the letter by XYZ date", maybe a week before the deadline, instead of telling them the deadline is not a problem. For many modern systems, the applicant can check the status, and it's reasonable to ask that people have things in earlier so that you can verify that everything has been received and processed. That's even an acceptable reason to give if they ask why you told them a date different from the deadline.

Don't give a date that's going to be an inconvenience, but it can be earlier than the deadline. And don't lie about what you're doing, but you don't have to advertise it.

At least then when it takes multiple requests, you won't be as stressed out about it.

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