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Contacting Faculty


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Hey all, 

Does contacting faculty members, specifically those that you would want to work with, have any effect on the admissions process?

I know that for hard sciences when the faculty member actually has the students in their lab it matters a whole lot, but what about in social science? In each of the universities that I've applied to I've identified one or two faculty members that id love to work with, but I haven't emailed them. I read somewhere that faculty members don't like to get flooded with emails, especially when they can't influence the admissions decision. 

So what do y'all recommend? Email the faculty member or not?

Thanks in advance 


BTW one of the articles I was referring to that said not to contact faculty members is https://chrisblattman.com/about/contact/gradschool/

Edited by Dwar
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It's not worth emailing them unless you actually have something of value to say to them. 

The purpose of emailing in the sciences is that PI's lab is almost directly admitting and funding the students, and you need to make sure that the PI is indeed taking students in the next academic year. Students in political science are always funded by the institution or department. 

I've never heard a professor be happy about emails like "hey I applied to your University and I want to work with you." At best it's a little annoying and maybe reply with "cool, lmk if you get in, I don't sit on admissions so I can't do anything now."

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It generally has no effect. Especially, if your POI is in a good school, such as Ivies, they basically do not answer any e-mail. The best they say is I am not in the committee and I cannot effect the committee’s decisions. I tried to contact the administrative people and they told me not to contact any professors because apparently they are all so ‘busy’.

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