A friend of mine applied to a distinguished professor and he asked for 5 letters of support. So, she reached out to someone she did a significant internship with 9 years ago and he doesn't seem to be responding. He had been helping her out until a few years ago. I thought it was a bit rude after all the hard work she put into the work.

Is she doing something inappropriate?

She has other supervisors from the corporate world. Can she nominate them instead? Would it work?

  • 4
    No; yes; and maybe.
    – Dan Romik
    Sep 17 '15 at 22:20
  • I'm not sure I'll remember all people who worked with me 9 years back without significant prompting. Perhaps that was missing. Besides, when evaluating recommendations I'd probably concentrate on recent relationships, people do change.
    – vonbrand
    Sep 17 '15 at 22:52
  • 1
    A useless non-answer/comment: yes, it is possibly too long... People forget things. Some forget less. Some forget enough so that re-pings from long-ago people look like spam, and are either automatically or manually deleted. Or it's just too confusing, and is deleted. So, yes, it's complicated, at best... Sep 17 '15 at 23:04

It's not too long, but the student should attach an unofficial transcript, a photo and perhaps something else that might jog the professor's memory.

One email is not enough. Wait a month and try again. Professors get busy and sometimes something slips between the cracks.

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