When I send out the letter, I will email you confirmation. YOUSHOULD NOT ASSUME THAT I HAVE SENT OUT A LETTER UNTIL YOU GET EMAIL CONFIRMATION-- this is my way of making sure I don't miss any deadlines! If youhaven't heard from me and the deadline is tomorrow, *please* double check. (Don't worry, I've never had any problems, but when there are lots of lettersto go out things get complicated).
For grad school, however, I have more advice...
If you are planning to apply to grad school, but not for a year ortwo, you still need to do some things this year. Figure out who yourletter writers will be, and meet with them individually, telling them aboutyour plans. Some of them might prefer to write a letter now or makenotes, so they will remember in a few year's time.
If you are applying to grad school this fall, now is the time to planout your schedule.
(1) When are the applications due? Do they fall right on top offinal exams? If so, plan ahead. In particular, when are fellowshipapplications due? These typically come earlier than the grad schooldeadlines. The NSF deadline is early in the fall. Since fundingmakes a huge difference in grad school, don't miss any opportunity to apply. Have you taken all of the relevant tests?
(2) Who are the professors who will be writing your letters? Youtypically need at least three. Have you seen all of them recently? Do they know about your plans for grad school? Some professors willfeel more involved if you ask them for advice. It is important thatthey know you are serious about grad school, that you understand what itis all about, and that you are qualified. Make sure this comes acrosswhen you meet with them. Check with them now about writing letters,this gives you plenty of time to seek out someone else if they seem hesitant(if someone says, "gee, I'm not sure I know you very well" that is a badsign).
(3) What are you going to write about in your essays? For a PhDprogram, these usually require a description of your past research experienceand your future research interests. Some students will have a thesisor a summer research project to report on -- that is terrific. Theessays flow nicely when you can relate this project to your future work. The main thing people are looking for here is that you know what grad schoolis all about and that you understand what research is. It also helpsif you include a sentence or two which indicates why a given school isgood for you -- this can be as simple as naming the faculty in the field. But be careful here -- make sure your information is up to date, and checkit out with a faculty member here.
For economics, they could care less if you actually do what you sayyou are going to do in the essay, but in some of the sciences, the informationmight be relevant for matching you to specific labs or sources of funding. Talking about the essay with your letter-writers is a good way for themto get up to date with your interests, and to get feedback. You shoulddefinitely get at least one faculty member to review your essay: trustme on this. That means getting it done early. You'll be surprisedat how hard it is to write 2 pages.
(4) Don't forget to allow time in the spring to go and visit the programsyou are interested in, for interviews if required (i.e. med school), orto meet the faculty (PhD programs). Visiting is essential for figuringout a good match, and you can make contacts that might help you later!
I hope this helps. Good luck!