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How to Follow Up on Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School

Updated April 17, 2017

Applying to graduate school requires the completion of many tasks by the student candidate. For instance, letters of recommendation are common components of graduate-school applications. These letters may attest to the student's character or previous academic performance. Once the potential student makes the requests for a recommendation, he may have to follow up with the writers to ensure receipt by the application deadline. He can choose from a few different follow-up methods.

Write a follow-up letter. In the body, state the reason for the follow-up letter, the deadline by which you need the recommendation and a message of thanks, in advance, for completion of the letter. You could write, "I am writing to follow up with you regarding the letter of recommendation. If you'll recall from my original request, I'll need the letter by June 28. Thanks in advance for helping me out. If by chance you've already sent the letter, please disregard this reminder."

Send a follow-up e-mail. Include your original e-mail request as a reference, if applicable.

Make a follow-up phone call. You could say, "Hello, Professor Petrosky. This is Frank Undle. I'm calling to see when I should expect to receive your letter of recommendation."

Contact the letter writer's administrative assistant, where appropriate and applicable, to get her guidance about the best way and time to follow up with the writer.

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