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Questions on Research Assistant Offer


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I was accepted into a program (computer science PhD) and offered funding as a research assistant for a professor for the first year. I am not too interested in the research that professor is doing, but the professors that align better with me already have a ton of students. One of these professors has contacted me several times, and it seems like he has been recruiting me. His students are in their 4th and 5th years, so it looks like they will be completing their program soon. Hopefully, I could take their place. 

How significant is the first year as a research assistant? There are a few smaller areas within this professor's research that do interest me, so it wouldn't be a total waste of time. Is it common to change the professor that you are a research assistant for later? Would there be hard feelings if I didn't prefer the professor I will RA for as an advisor? My preferred professor wants to chat again -- would it be rude to ask in that conversation if there would be opportunities to work with him in the future?

I don't really know proper etiquette in these scenarios, and this is such an important decision. Please help!

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Seconding rising_star's advice, especially about the changing RA thing. At most programs in my field, you only RA for your thesis advisor so accepting an admission offer with an RAship for a certain prof means you are basically choosing that prof as your advisor (for now, anyways). If your field is the same, one way to phrase this question would be to first ask the prof about how students and advisors are matched up, (i.e. whether it's a determination made at admission, in first year, later on etc.)

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