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I am applying to Grad School. I have indicated three references. However, one of them has not yet completed. He has stopped responding to mails and phone calls too. Would it be wise to change him with some other reference ?

If it is of any importance, the person in the question is my undergraduate thesis advisor.

Since I don't have commenting rights I will add some more info here.

@kostia I visited his office some days back -> he disagreed to write then. Then some days after I visited, he writes to me saying he can do 5. And so I indicated him in requests. That was the last I had heard from him. I write him reminder e-mails almost every day, he doesn't reply.

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    Can you add another reference without removing this one? That way, in case he doesn't submit his, you can still have 3 letters. – KnIn Dec 23 '16 at 17:41
  • At some places I can't – Umang Gupta Dec 24 '16 at 2:16
  • @kostia I visited his office some days back -> he disagreed to write then. Then some days after I visited, he writes to me saying he can do 5. And so I indicated him. That was the last I had heard from him. I write him (reminder) mails almost everyday, he doesnt reply. – Umang Gupta Dec 24 '16 at 2:18
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Adding to @Kostia's answer, a negative letter from the undergraduate thesis advisor will tank your application.

He is giving all the signs of not being able to write a positive letter. He disagreed when you first asked him, then he agreed to only writing a few, now he is avoiding you.

I would absolutely not use him for any letters if at all possible. Again, a bad letter from your advisor is worse than a missing letter. Try to find a third person and have them write to as many schools as will let you change the letter writers.

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A strong letter from the undergraduate thesis adviser would be very valuable, since this is the person who presumably knows your academic achievements better than others. Assuming that your adviser has agreed to write a recommendation letter (otherwise you should not have listed him as your referee), I would recommend to try your best and find him by going directly to his office, or through his colleagues or admin people.

  • I visited his office some days back -> he disagreed then. – Umang Gupta Dec 24 '16 at 2:16
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    I totally agree with what @RoboKaren wrote below. – Kostia Dec 24 '16 at 6:58

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