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How important do you guys think it is to talk to a faculty member before applying to a grad school? I am planning on applying to MS/PhD in Statistics. I have been reading a lot of papers written by the faculties at several universities, and I find myself quite apprehensive about writing to a professor, to whom I am a stranger, and asking him about all sort of things. Some of the FAQ's in universities clearly stated that inquiries about admission chances to faculties are at best frowned upon and at worst detrimental to applicant's chances of being admitted. So, I was hoping if any one in here had some advise for me. I did look into a lot of programs, and most of the top ones have statistics with heavy Bayesian inclinations. Although I come from a econometric background, application of Bayesian statistics is quite exciting. I am particularly interested in application of Bayesian statistics in policy analysis. Although this method is quite common in law, this seems to be a relatively unexplored territory for other public policy development and evaluation. Do you guys think, it is right to chat with a professor about my expectation and his thoughts about it? My rationale is that it is better for me to get a view from the faculty about my idea before applying because many posts in here have stated clearly the dangerous misfortune of getting into a program with different faculty research interest. Thanks in advance. Cheers.