I think I blew it with an LOR writer... update

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BigA
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I think I blew it with an LOR writer... update

Postby BigA » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:32 pm

So here's my situation. My college professor had agreed to write an LOR for me. He sent me the draft. It looked good. The only thing he needed from me was the LOR form. First mistake I made was I emailed the form to him, not realizing it needed my signature. He pointed this out to me upon receiving it, so I apologized and said the form would be signed and sent in the mail soon. Hopefully no big deal and he gave no indication that this was any sort of problem.

My next mistake was I took longer to get him the form than I said it would. I am staying with my dad right now in a new state. We don't have a printer or car. I made brief mention of this to explain the delay. Then my uncle's printer for some unexplainable reason wouldn't print the LOR form. Basically, a laundry list of excuses, I know. So anyway, it created a further delay with getting him the form. By the time I did, he was just leaving for a trip to Afghanistan (which I only know from a bulk email of job listings that I am on the list of) so I took it easy for a few weeks until he got back. But he's been back for days now (which again, I only know from the bulk emails) and he hasn't responded to my emails or let me know that he has received my form.

Your response might be "relax, he's probably busy. Give him some time" and I'd usually agree with you. But he's always responded to my emails within a day if not sooner. He was an old professor who has retired now. He always had lots of time for students. In fact, if you came in to his office hours you'd sometimes have to think of an excuse to leave he was so accomadating. He was that kind of professor. But I guess anyone can get fed up. I feel bad for making it come to that.

So my question is, how can I get him to write this? I think I'm gonna write a nice letter of apology, saying how inconsiderate I was and that I didn't mean to take his generosity for granted. Anything else I should do? How about sending him a bottle of wine or chocolates or something as a gift? I wouldn't want this to be perceived as a bribe. I could legitimately say I was gonna send you this anyway for the willingness to write me such a nice letter.

I feel his recommendation is very important cuz I've been out of school for several years and he's the only professor who would even remotely remember me I'm sure. If he doesn't do this, I guess I'd have to get two letters from my experience teaching English overseas. How bad would it be if both of my LOR writers obviously don't speak English as their first language?

By the way. This is for next cycle. I guess that's the real reason I was dragging my feet with this. I felt no sense of urgency.
Last edited by BigA on Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

starsong
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby starsong » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:49 pm

Since you took your time getting the form to him, I think you should give him time as well. I'm not ignoring what you said about his typical response time. I'm saying that if you approach him now, you will appear pushy and self-centered. If you wait, you're essentially saying, "this isn't urgent, no rush, no pressure", which is exactly how you handled it so far.

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Mattalones
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby Mattalones » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:03 am

WRITE THIS IN AN E-MAIL IN A WEEK

you wrote:Dear Professor X (Power Puff Girls reference unintentional .... admitting that I know about the Power Puff Girls: priceless)

This is a friendly follow up and reminder about the letter of recommendation that you agreed to write for me. There is no rush at all. I won't need it until the first week in August. Please keep me posted.

Thanks again for agreeing to write my letter

-Former Student


He'll just think, "Oh, yeah," and then write you back with an approximate date that he'll plan to write it.

In my experience, even the most helpful professors lag on letters. So, send him a variation of the same letter every other week until summer and then bump it up to every week after the first month of summer if he still hasn't written it. He'll appreciate the reminders.

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:13 am

starsong wrote:Since you took your time getting the form to him, I think you should give him time as well. I'm not ignoring what you said about his typical response time. I'm saying that if you approach him now, you will appear pushy and self-centered. If you wait, you're essentially saying, "this isn't urgent, no rush, no pressure", which is exactly how you handled it until now.


The last email I sent him a few days ago was just a friendly message saying "glad you got back. Wish I could see any pics from Afghanistan on facebook, and oh, did you receive that letter?" (yeah, he's a friend on facebook too, which could make this a little awkward). I thought my next move would be a letter of apology. I don't think this would be pushy, but might seem a bit neurotic if he's just taking his time. So yeah, I'm holding off on doing that at this point.

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:21 am

Mattalones wrote:WRITE THIS IN AN E-MAIL IN A WEEK

you wrote:Dear Professor X (Power Puff Girls reference unintentional .... admitting that I know about the Power Puff Girls: priceless)

This is a friendly follow up and reminder about the letter of recommendation that you agreed to write for me. There is no rush at all. I won't need it until the first week in August. Please keep me posted.

Thanks again for agreeing to write my letter

-Former Student


He'll just think, "Oh, yeah," and then write you back with an approximate date that he'll plan to write it.

In my experience, even the most helpful professors lag on letters. So, send him a variation of the same letter every other week until summer and then bump it up to every week after the first month of summer if he still hasn't written it. He'll appreciate the reminders.


I really like that letter. Now I don't know if I'm just being really paranoid. Do you think I need to apologize (I mentioned a brief "sorry for the delay" when i told him it was sent)? I don't want to be too dramatic. I just have this strong feeling soemthing aint right

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Mattalones
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby Mattalones » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:24 am

BigA wrote:
Mattalones wrote:WRITE THIS IN AN E-MAIL IN A WEEK

you wrote:Dear Professor X (Power Puff Girls reference unintentional .... admitting that I know about the Power Puff Girls: priceless)

This is a friendly follow up and reminder about the letter of recommendation that you agreed to write for me. There is no rush at all. I won't need it until the first week in August. Please keep me posted.

Thanks again for agreeing to write my letter

-Former Student


He'll just think, "Oh, yeah," and then write you back with an approximate date that he'll plan to write it.

In my experience, even the most helpful professors lag on letters. So, send him a variation of the same letter every other week until summer and then bump it up to every week after the first month of summer if he still hasn't written it. He'll appreciate the reminders.


I really like that letter. Now I don't know if I'm just being really paranoid. Do you think I need to apologize (I mentioned a brief "sorry for the delay" when i told him it was sent)? I don't want to be too dramatic. I just have this strong feeling soemthing aint right

Yeah, the only feeling you want to build in him is "crap, I have to do this guy's letter." Just keep being super nice and super consistent, and it will eventually come. Remember, he still has to appeal to his impression of you when he writes the letter, so keep it good.

starsong
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby starsong » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:25 am

BigA wrote:The last email I sent him a few days ago was just a friendly message saying "glad you got back. Wish I could see any pics from Afghanistan on facebook, and oh, did you receive that letter?" (yeah, he's a friend on facebook too, which could make this a little awkward). I thought my next move would be a letter of apology. I don't think this would be pushy, but might seem a bit neurotic if he's just taking his time. So yeah, I'm holding off on doing that at this point.


Yeah, I wouldn't worry about appearing neurotic so much as pushy, ungrateful, and demanding. You took your time getting him the form; he likely understood this as there's no rush. If you start bugging him now, it's going to look like you are totally self-centered: you take your time, but now expect him to drop everything for you. Plus, you have another 5 months, it really is not that urgent. I suggest you give it a few weeks, talk about other things in the meantime. Then try to see him face-to-face (even briefly), reconnect in-person on the relational level, then casually bring it up. After that, send him a letter every week. Remember, you have a ton of time here, no need to stress out...

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:51 am

No, I'm not saying he has to drop everything. My worry (founded or not) is that he's not sending it at all. Here is the email I have saved in my "drafts" folder. So I'm seeking advice before I send something like this. I'm starting to feel it may be a bit extreme at this point.

Hi Professor X, I would like to apologize more completely for the delay in sending you the form. I realize that what I said about not having a printer or car at my dad's were pretty flimsy excuses. I could have taken my bike to the office supplies store any time to print the form. I guess I felt no hurry because the date the letter is due is so far off still. However, I was oblivious to the inconvenience this may have caused you, and it may have seemed like I was taking your generosity for granted. I really didn't mean to do that. Your letter of recommendation would really mean a lot to me and I hope you will still consider sending it in spite of my somewhat careless behavior. In the future I will certainly be more aware of the inconvenience I may be causing you or anyone else who is helping me through this process.

I am assuming this is why you haven't responded to my recent emails. But if there is another reason, I would also like to know. If you haven't received the letter or it has been misplaced, I would be happy to hand deliver it as soon as I get back. I still appreciate the nice things you said in the letter and your willingness to have written it.

twopoodles
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby twopoodles » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:52 am

You really need to relax! Don't do anything, at least for a couple of weeks! If you have annoyed him, more emails won't help. If you haven't, then for all you know, its already in the mail. JUST RELAX.

starsong
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby starsong » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:56 am

twopoodles wrote:You really need to relax! Don't do anything, at least for a couple of weeks! If you have annoyed him, more emails won't help. If you haven't, then for all you know, its already in the mail. JUST RELAX.


+1

Take a deep breath, BigA. You have FIVE whole months to get this letter! I repeat: wait a few weeks, try to connect face-to-face, then start gently bugging him. You are wayyyyy too stressed out about this....

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kswiss
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby kswiss » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:58 am

Chill dude. Wait like 2 months. Then, if nothing, ask him again.

Whats the rush? Your email does look a little neurotic.

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:17 am

Thanks everyone for the input. I guess I get a little crazy sometimes... So I take it everybody's saying that A) I don't owe him an apology like this? And B) he's not refusing to send my letter because of how I acted?

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AngryAvocado
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby AngryAvocado » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:26 am

BigA wrote:Thanks everyone for the input. I guess I get a little crazy sometimes... So I take it everybody's saying that A) I don't owe him an apology like this? And B) he's not refusing to send my letter because of how I acted?


First, change your tar from that cartoon character to this one:

--ImageRemoved--

Second, relax.

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JTX
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby JTX » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:36 am

this professor is probably so mad that you blew him off. he'll write you a letter for sure... so he can burn you in the LOR. and you'll never know!

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:41 am

jtxcounitah wrote:this professor is probably so mad that you blew him off. he'll write you a letter for sure... so he can burn you in the LOR. and you'll never know!


I really don't see that. I actually don't think he would change his mind about sending the letter without even telling me, but I don't really know that. Like I said, anyone can get fed up.

starsong
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby starsong » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:59 am

BigA wrote:
jtxcounitah wrote:this professor is probably so mad that you blew him off. he'll write you a letter for sure... so he can burn you in the LOR. and you'll never know!


I really don't see that. I actually don't think he would change his mind about sending the letter without even telling me, but I don't really know that. Like I said, anyone can get fed up.

LOL I'm pretty sure jtxcounitah was just kidding. :-)

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JTX
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby JTX » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:30 pm

starsong wrote:
BigA wrote:
jtxcounitah wrote:this professor is probably so mad that you blew him off. he'll write you a letter for sure... so he can burn you in the LOR. and you'll never know!


I really don't see that. I actually don't think he would change his mind about sending the letter without even telling me, but I don't really know that. Like I said, anyone can get fed up.

LOL I'm pretty sure jtxcounitah was just kidding. :-)


yeah i was joking. kid you need to relax or you're gonna give yourself a hernia.

crw09
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby crw09 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:53 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about it for a couple weeks, but if you haven't heard anything by then, I'd phrase the follow up with something along the lines of "Sorry I took so long getting you the right forms. Please let me know if you still have time to write the letter (due XX) for me. Thanks again!"

If you haven't already sent a current resume/copy of your transcript/reminder list of your college activities/copy of your personal statement, send something along those lines with the email.

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:07 pm

crw09 wrote:If you haven't already sent a current resume/copy of your transcript/reminder list of your college activities/copy of your personal statement, send something along those lines with the email.


Thanks. If I didn't make it clear, he has already written the letter and sent me a draft. He was with me every step of the way until recently since I took so long to get him the form. That's what's making me worry.

Does this change things for anyone??

Fark-o-vision
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:11 pm

Had almost this exact same thing happen to me with one of my LOR's. Right down to forgetting to sign the document myself. I got worried, but when he finally got back to me (after a couple somewhat neurotic emails) he just told me that he hadn't forgot, that he had spent a week in the mountains after his return from New York (not Afghanistan), and that he'd be mailing it out shortly. I wouldn't stress about it. Give it a couple weeks.

To make the parallel even more ridiculous he also was always the sort to get right back to you. Very disciplined.

glasnost
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby glasnost » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:33 am

you dont' need to sign that form. you only sign it if you want to waive your right to see your letters once you've begun law school. i didn't sign either of mine and they both went through the LSAC with no probs.

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Mattalones
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby Mattalones » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:51 am

glasnost wrote:you dont' need to sign that form. you only sign it if you want to waive your right to see your letters once you've begun law school. i didn't sign either of mine and they both went through the LSAC with no probs.

Yeah, and if you are close with the professor, you can just ask him for permission to sign it on his behalf.

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:39 am

glasnost wrote:you dont' need to sign that form. you only sign it if you want to waive your right to see your letters once you've begun lawl skool. i didn't sign either of mine and they both went through the LSAC with no probs.


I'm kicking myself so hard for not realizing this. Actually, I'm sure I did see this when I initially sent it to him. Because I swore I looked the form over top to bottom to make sure I did everything right. Then when he wrote me back saying it needed my signature, I forgot that I had made that assessment. I saw the line that asked for my signature and thought he was right. That would have saved all this trouble and delay.

So I am taking the boards advice. I'm ready to send that letter that mattalones suggested (and a little explanation about how it didn't really need my signature), after I see what kind of responses this gets. Nothing dramatic. Nothing neurotic :)

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BigA
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Re: I think I blew it with an LOR writer... please help!

Postby BigA » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:41 pm

Okay. You guys were right. He wrote me today and said he has been under the weather since returning from Afghanistan, and he just sent it out. Funny, I was getting more and more sure that you guys were all wrong. Thanks for keeping me calm. I still think there was real cause for concern, based on his previous actions and fact that I was getting forwarded job listings. But I'm glad I waited it out basically.




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