Hi I am trying to submit an application to the University of Edinburgh for Mathematical Physics. Basically I have exceeded the A Level Grade requirements for their second year entry. However I am facing an issue with the reference as I am applying by myself and cannot turn to anyone from my previous school for a reference. I have took my A Levels with Cambridge International Examinations which can be directly corresponded with the UK A Levels. In fact I took them way before the period students in my country normally take their national examinations. The reason behind is due to, based on my personal opinions and beliefs, unreasonable military conscription in my country of origin (which I will not specify for obvious reasons), which is why I have left the school and that country before prior to graduation from the sixth form I was in. Unfortunately the conscription cannot be substituted by any other forms of service, and involves 2 full years of combat training, unlike other models present in Europe. However that also results in a lack of reference to be furnished from an academic staff. Educators in tha country are civil servants and will never do anything that may jeopardise their career. I have contacted the admissions officer and they seem understanding to the reason I am applying independently and leaving the school. However as I tried to contact them nearly a week ago about the reference requirement and whether it can be substituted by something else they did not reply the email till now. Is the reference really so crucial in the application process and should I request for an update about the enquiry or should I just wait for a response. I do not wish to offend them by pestering them for a reply but is a week of waiting normal? Thank you and sorry for the lengthy post.