Jump to content

Emailing PIs of interest before admission


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I've submitted my applications (finally) and a few of my colleagues have recommended emailing PIs of interest while I wait for my admissions results, but I'm not sure how to approach this...

Is it best to talk to them just to gauge their interest in taking a student?  Or do people start coming up with ideas for rotation projects?  It all seems a bit forward to me.  

Thanks :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends on the program you are applying to.  I applied to biomedical sciences umbrella programs and I was told I didn't need to contact anyone, and that stating my research interests (and maybe name dropping a couple PIs) in an SOP was enough.  Because some PIs don't really know what their funding situation or projects for students won't be, and depending on the program, it may be a year or two before you officially join a lab.  I didn't contact any PIs when I sent in my applications and I got interviews at 6 out of 7 programs I applied to.

On the other hand, some programs encourage applicants to contact PIs and may need PI approval before accepting a student into the program.  I would look into what the program's website says for this.

Some people I know who contacted PIs at umbrella programs got the typical "yes, I anticipate taking a student next year.  I encourage you to apply to X program".  But that PI doesn't necessarily have a ton of input into the admissions process.

Edited by StemCellFan
Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of biology field are you going into? More medical and biochemistry-focused subfields tend to do rotations and not need much introduction to potential advisors before you are interviewed/accepted. In ecology and evolution subfields, it is almost expected that you talk with potential advisers before the interview (if not before even applying). Of course, this can be broken down even further and will depend upon your exact program's standards, but those are some general guidelines.

When (if) you do reach out to some potential advisers, it's fine to be forward. State that you have applied to their department, and you are interested in their research. Would they have some time to chat with you via phone/skype to discuss their research group? In the meeting, you can discuss your own research ideas, the lab's work atmosphere, funding availability, other opportunities within the department, etc. Remember that you are training to be their colleague someday, so don't feel too intimidated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello!

I asked a similar question about emailing faculty of interest while waiting for my application decision. One person suggested I shouldn't, which I can understand that it may be viewed a bit negatively if you contact them after submitting your application instead of before.

I'm still on the fence about whether I'll send out more emails. However, I will send a short email to professors I did talk to - to let them know I submitted my application.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have done that before submitting. If you contact 3 people you're interested in at a certain school now, and none of them are taking students, why did you apply to that school?

Contacting people in advance doesn't change your odds of acceptance. They won't be going out of their way to help you get in just because you sent them a nice email. That being said, if you're just genuinely interested in their work and want to talk to them about it, you could reach out and just say something like "I've submitted my application for the fall, and am very interested in your work because xyz. I was hoping you'd have some time to talk about your work." 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/5/2018 at 4:21 AM, BabyScientist said:

I would have done that before submitting. If you contact 3 people you're interested in at a certain school now, and none of them are taking students, why did you apply to that school?

Contacting people in advance doesn't change your odds of acceptance. They won't be going out of their way to help you get in just because you sent them a nice email. That being said, if you're just genuinely interested in their work and want to talk to them about it, you could reach out and just say something like "I've submitted my application for the fall, and am very interested in your work because xyz. I was hoping you'd have some time to talk about your work.

I agree with BabyScientist completely. Other than contacting specific POIs to talk about their work, I would recommend e-mailing all your POIs as you get interview invitations. This would serve as a second chance to not only display interest but also to confirm that your POIs are considering taking on students in the near future.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.