I am applying to graduate school, and I am having a problem with recommendation letters. I need three recommendation letters with two of them being academic reference letters. Honestly, last year, I had requested two recommendation letters from two of my former professors for my law school applications. However, in the end, I decided not to pursue law school for a number of reasons, despite being accepted to one. Currently, I am applying to a number of different schools' masters' programs in the field I plan to study.

As I mentioned earlier, I am having difficulty with the recommendation letter process. I wrote emails to those two professors about my situation, and one professor was willing to revise her former recommendation letter for my new masters' programs applications. However, I have yet to hear back from the other professor. I had written a senior thesis under that professor, and I was hoping to receive a letter from him. After I sent an email to that professor a few weeks ago, and received no response, I sent him a follow-up email yesterday. I received no response to that follow-up email either. If there is no response, does that mean a discreet "no"? Should I send another follow-up email a few days later? Or, should I find another academic recommender at this point? My first application deadline is in the middle of December.

  • 1
    Are you sure that professor did not change his e-mail address?
    – Nobody
    Nov 17, 2015 at 2:57
  • 1
    One of my friends was in a similar situation. My advice was to call the professors that didn't respond on the phone. They answered. One of them said yes and the other said no. Best of luck! :) Nov 17, 2015 at 4:32

2 Answers 2


I am not in your field. But from a faculty's perspective, the lack of response does not necessarily entail that the professor is unwilling to write a recommendation letter for you. A faculty's life is much busier than you think (this is something I did not know/agree when I was still young and crazy); it is possible that the professor forgot to get back to you and/or that s/he is currently out of touch. If I were you, I would wait for a day or two and would send a polite email telling the professor that you decide to seek for help from from another person due to time constraint (and this is exactly what you need to do in order to ensure that the universities you are applying to receive all of your application materials on time and to give another person sufficient time to work on your recommendation letter).


A quick phone call to the departmental secretary will tell you whether or not that person is away on vacation, out of the country, at a conference, home sick, or perhaps in a rush to finish a grant proposal or finalize a course. Any number of things could account for this.

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