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Thread: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

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    What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

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    I submitted the online application of some programs in time. However, one of my letter writers hasn't submitted his letter yet and told me letters could come late that then application letter, otherwise the school will specify that they have to submit letters by a certain date. I assume this is true since he seems pretty experienced at being a recommender. However, he didn't submit the letter for the program that says "make sure letters be received by the deadline" in the online application. I'm kinda worried if I'm wasting my efforts and money for this school because of the late submission of a letter. Can anyone share some insights on this? Thx a lot!

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    There is no clear cut answer. Some schools state that the deadline is the deadline. Others that letters can come later.
    Even for the former, mostly from what I see they say that if letters arrive after the deadline they may not be considered.

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Yeah unfortunately this isn't an uncommon occurence. I had a LOR writer submit all of their letters late. There were a few schools who didn't care, but there were a few schools who cared a lot.

    The thing about it is that at this point there is nothing that you can do, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Move along and go ahead and assume that they will look at your app. As I said this isn't particularly uncommon, although it should be. I'm going to say to try not to stress about it too much with the full knowledge that you will 100% stress about it too much. At least let me say that I'm sorry this happened. That really sucks.
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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    I had my main writer, drag it to two hours before deadline at my #1 pick.
    Actually, I was left with a surprisingly large number of hairs still attached. Like Xanthus said, at this point, there is little we can control, try to relax and hope for the best.

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Thanks guys! I will try to relax as much as I can since I can do nothing about it. However, do you think it would be a good idea to ask the programs if this late submission of one letter would affect my application? Or should I just wait and not bother them?

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Yeah, a little too late to worry about it now. I don't think you should ask the programs about it by now.

    I was aware of the risk when I applied, and so asking professors to send their letters of recommendations was one of the first things I did when I started my applications. Then I followed closely if they were sending the letters or not, reminding them from time to time, updating for them the list of schools still needing the letters and the respective deadlines.

    I asked for letters of recommendations in the beginning of October, and I think that by the end of November all professors had sent all letters to all schools.

    As Plan B, I also had other professors who could write letters of recommendation if one of the chosen professors became too dangerously close to the deadline. But that was not necessary.

    And people said here, there are schools who care a lot about deadlines. For future applicants, try to get this right before it becomes too late and outside of your control.

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrazilianPhD View Post
    Yeah, a little too late to worry about it now. I don't think you should ask the programs about it by now.

    I was aware of the risk when I applied, and so asking professors to send their letters of recommendations was one of the first things I did when I started my applications. Then I followed closely if they were sending the letters or not, reminding them from time to time, updating for them the list of schools still needing the letters and the respective deadlines.

    I asked for letters of recommendations in the beginning of October, and I think that by the end of November all professors had sent all letters to all schools.

    As Plan B, I also had other professors who could write letters of recommendation if one of the chosen professors became too dangerously close to the deadline. But that was not necessary.

    And people said here, there are schools who care a lot about deadlines. For future applicants, try to get this right before it becomes too late and outside of your control.
    Thank you for your suggestions. My situation is a little bit different here since I also get in touch with professors early in September and kept following-ups until the last day before the deadline. The professor who didn't submit the letter for me was actually really close to me and know me really well (I have done RA and TA for 3 courses with him), and he has always been very accountable... He even sent me an email this morning saying that he is doing his best and revising his letter everyday... This is a really awkward situation for me.

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    Yeah unfortunately this isn't an uncommon occurence. I had a LOR writer submit all of their letters late. There were a few schools who didn't care, but there were a few schools who cared a lot.

    The thing about it is that at this point there is nothing that you can do, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Move along and go ahead and assume that they will look at your app. As I said this isn't particularly uncommon, although it should be. I'm going to say to try not to stress about it too much with the full knowledge that you will 100% stress about it too much. At least let me say that I'm sorry this happened. That really sucks.
    Thanks! BTW, in this late submission of letters situation, if I am rejected, is there anyway to find out whether the reason is the school thinks i'm not qualified or it simply didn't look at my app?

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    I'm honestly surprised to hear that some schools care a lot about letters being in by the deadline. I think that most schools expect other professors to spend time on letters once the fall semester has ended. I would be surprised if there is any negative effect so long as the letters are submitted by the beginning of the year.

    There is no way to tell why you were rejected and you may get a response if you ask the school, but it is unlikely to be informative. I doubt it would be because they didn't review your package.

    I was actually admitted to one school before one of my letters was in.

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    Re: What if recommendation letters aren't submitted on time?

    Yes as YaS said, most schools won't care too much. You are unlikely to get any response from a program about why you were rejected (and honestly you shouldn't care as long as you got in somewhere).

    For the record, I only know about a couple of schools who cared because I had friends who were profs at these schools and they let me know. Again let me restate, though, that there really isn't anything that you can do at this point.
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