I am currently applying to graduate school and trying to gather some solid letters of recommendation.

During my undergraduate studies, I worked in a research lab and while I didn't get that close with the professor, I decided to take a shot and ask her for a letter of recommendation. I sent an email two weeks ago and she has not responded. How long should I wait before emailing again? How do I ask again without being pushy? My fear is that she barely remembers me and this is her way of saying no. Should I just ask someone else?

  • I agree with sessej's answer. But I think it's reasonably common to not respond as a way of saying no. – Shake Baby Mar 4 '17 at 3:02

Professors receive many requests for recommendations. Speaking for myself, I appreciate reminders because it lessens the organizational burden of keeping track of everything.

As a rough guideline I would wait 2 weeks between requests (so, go ahead and try again now). Just be polite and re-send the request with a note to the effect that you know she is busy, so you are re-sending your request.

I would also add that if you aren't close with this professor it may be hard for her to remember enough about you to write a strong letter in support of your application. To remedy this, it would be helpful if you also reminded the professor about what you did for her/in her lab when you contact her again.


You can certainly send a reminder. But keep in mind that universities in many countries take a break of several weeks this time of year. Do not be surprised if you don't get a response until after the start of the new term.

It's not likely that the professor is intentionally ignoring your request as a way of refusing it. That would be very unprofessional.

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