You have everything set for your grad school app except ONE thing, your letters of recommendation. Try not to take it personal. If you’ve already reached out to them in person and by email and still have had no response, you may want to write a second email with more encouragement for them to fill it out. See the example below and fill in your own information where the brackets are.

SUBJECT: [Graduate/ PhD] Recommendation Request – Follow up

Dear Professor,

I want to express my gratitude to you for agreeing to recommend me for my [PhD/ graduate] application at [Univ. name]. Up until now, the school has unfortunately not received your recommendation. With the deadline approaching on [insert date], I may lose this great opportunity to pursue this highly anticipated experience. Would you be able to submit the recommendation by [email/ the electronic portal sent to you/ link] before [a deadline]?  I would be most appreciative.

Thank you very much,

[Your Full Name]

One of the problems here is that busy teachers will still not respond *sigh*. So, if you are close on deadlines, make sure that you give a deadline that is ahead of the actual deadline in your email. Secondly, write an email to your department head or academic advisor explaining your predicament following the below template:

SUBJECT: [Graduate/ PhD] Recommendation – Request for Assistance

Dear Advisor,

As you may or may not be aware, I am applying to [university name] to complete my [PhD/ masters] in [chosen major]. I am very excited about this opportunity and feel that my studies here will be instrumental in gaining admission. However, I am unfortunately not able to move forward with the application submission due to my lack of recommendations. I have reached out to [professor’s names] on [two] occasions and have not heard back, yet the deadline is quickly approaching. Would you be able to send an email on my behalf so that I can submit my application in a timely manner?

I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much.

[Your Full Name]

Overall, college professors are extremely hard to reach at times especially if they have adjunct status where they might work multiple jobs. If you are aiming for an adjunct to write your recommendation, you might want to stick with full time faculty who have designated office hours.

The main point is to be polite in your tone using all formalities rather than saying “hey, my school didn’t get your recommendation, what’s up with that?” You might also add in your email the courses you’ve taken with them if a few semesters have passed since that time (so they can remember who you are).

Have you heard what happened to the guy who faked being black to get accepted to med school? Read about it here.

So far, this approach has helped gain a number of responses for professor recommendations. What has helped you get your professors writing recommendations for your grad school apps? Submit your experiences in the comments below!


Author: College Mamma

College Mamma is a professor who blogs for students. She is also a mother of two and a lover of coffee.