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AntiSpinel

Should I contact the profs before applying to the program?

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Hello!

I am an international applicant who is considering to apply to UK/US grad schools for chem this coming Dec for the 2019 Fall cycle.

I was wondering if I should be making some initial email contact with potential supervisors at the grad schools I intend to apply to before making the application to the program. Unfortunately, visiting the schools or the prof in-person would be quite impossible until the official visit weekend... so the next alternative I have will be email correspondence/skype. 

Would that be advisable and if so, how early should I be making contact with them (this summer...?) ???

Thanks!!

Edited by AntiSpinel

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I’m a domestic student, so I can’t really speak from your position, but in general the advice I was given was to wait to contact the professors until after you’ve been officially accepted. Of course, I think there are situations where contacting them early would be a good thing. For example, at my undergraduate school we don’t have a great graduate program and not very many people apply, and almost all of the students are international and get accepted. Our program is actively searching for graduate students, so reaching out to one of the professors at my school would probably be received enthusiastically. Of course, it’s probably not super necessary as you’re almost guaranteed acceptance. Also, professors who are in their first two years or so seem to be more active in trying to recruit people to their group, so they would also probably be happy to speak with you. However, if you’re applying to really prestigious schools and famous professors, there is a good chance you won’t get a response and they won’t be invested in speaking with you.

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@pchem: thanks for your reply! I figured that I probably will not be able to get a reply from some of the bigname professors given their busy schedule too! 

May I know why you were advised to wait for an acceptance to the program before contacting the professors?  

On 4/15/2018 at 10:31 PM, pchem2018 said:

I’m a domestic student, so I can’t really speak from your position, but in general the advice I was given was to wait to contact the professors until after you’ve been officially accepted. Of course, I think there are situations where contacting them early would be a good thing. For example, at my undergraduate school we don’t have a great graduate program and not very many people apply, and almost all of the students are international and get accepted. Our program is actively searching for graduate students, so reaching out to one of the professors at my school would probably be received enthusiastically. Of course, it’s probably not super necessary as you’re almost guaranteed acceptance. Also, professors who are in their first two years or so seem to be more active in trying to recruit people to their group, so they would also probably be happy to speak with you. However, if you’re applying to really prestigious schools and famous professors, there is a good chance you won’t get a response and they won’t be invested in speaking with you.

 

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I think the professor I spoke to said it wasn’t worth my time and wouldn’t help my chances of admission, and I would have a lot more to talk with the professor about after I was accepted. Keep in mind though that the professors I was considering contacting were at Berkeley, so that might have had an influence on the advice I was given.

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On 4/15/2018 at 7:26 AM, AntiSpinel said:

Hello!

I am an international applicant who is considering to apply to UK/US grad schools for chem this coming Dec for the 2019 Fall cycle.

I was wondering if I should be making some initial email contact with potential supervisors at the grad schools I intend to apply to before making the application to the program. Unfortunately, visiting the schools or the prof in-person would be quite impossible until the official visit weekend... so the next alternative I have will be email correspondence/skype. 

Would that be advisable and if so, how early should I be making contact with them (this summer...?) ???

Thanks!!

If you are applying to the UK then you should definitely contact professors. I also contacted professors in the US (even got replies from some of the bigger names...) and got into schools both where I emailed profs and where I didn't. Pretty sure at least one offer was because I did email a prof though as we ended up talking a lot! 

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23 hours ago, ketchup said:

If you are applying to the UK then you should definitely contact professors. I also contacted professors in the US (even got replies from some of the bigger names...) and got into schools both where I emailed profs and where I didn't. Pretty sure at least one offer was because I did email a prof though as we ended up talking a lot! 

Alright may for the UK applications if we are applying to the department/school or to the lab? It appears to me that for UK applications... having a placing may not guarantee funding so would it be advisable for me to check with the profs if they have funding for a PhD student for the new year? 

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12 hours ago, AntiSpinel said:

Alright may for the UK applications if we are applying to the department/school or to the lab? It appears to me that for UK applications... having a placing may not guarantee funding so would it be advisable for me to check with the profs if they have funding for a PhD student for the new year? 

Yes you should contact them and ask that. Many will probably say no but they will point you to relevant scholarship schemes/apply for funding on your behalf. Unless you are applying for a CDT then you'll apply directly to the supervisor.

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