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How to reach out to/interact with PoIs

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One thing that I think I mishandled leading up to this cycle was my development of relationships with PoIs. I think my relationships with them were too cursory and shallow.

Can those who had success this cycle share some information about how they established relationships with PoIs? How did you reach out to them initially? How/how often did you interact with them? 

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As faculty, here is how prospective students contacted me:

  • started emails with Dr or Professor, not Miss/Mrs/first name. Formality throughout. Full signature so I know who you are helps.
  • I’m writing because I’m interested in University X doctoral program in History. 
  • Explain interests and research experience in 3-5 sentences. Then one sentence explaining why you’d like to work with me.
  • now here comes the tricky part. In general, al. This would suffice to put you in the POI’s orbit, even if they don’t respond. However, it’s better to have some question along the lines of “I wonder if you are accepting any advisees” but not like that. You could say something like, “ I wonder if you find this research compelling and you think it might be a good fit for your program”. Then, you are inviting the other person to respond. 
  • Now, typically, assistant professors don’t take graduate students, unless they are close to tenure. I will always advise everyone to write to senior POIs, they might suggest contacting the junior one you are interested in working with. 
  • if a POI suggests talking over the phone, do so. Sometimes it’s easier for profs to squeeze a 15-min phone call between classes than writing an email. 
  • It is not a bad idea to attach your CV. 
Edited by AP
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