I asked a professor for a recommendation letter last Thursday to apply to a certain grad school program (and others), and she agreed to do it. However, I received an e-mail yesterday from her that said that the deadline is too soon (I completely understand that I was irresponsible), and that she may not complete it in time. What would be a good/diplomatic way to respond? I do not want to give the impression that I'm forcing her to write the recommendation letter for me.
Oy. [In the future, give people at least a month for this sort of thing] Here's what you can do. (1) Be very polite and thank her a lot. (2) Say that you would like her to write a letter and submit it when she gets the chance [perhaps late as needed]. (3) Email the grad department and say you're applying but one of your letters will be late.
Hopefully that works out at some level. A few things could go wrong with this plan of course, but it's worth a shot. In any event, be sure to thank the letter writer profusely before and after the fact. Cards are nice.