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contacting Professors


nigar

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Hi,

I have following questions:

1- Is it better to contact professors before formally applying to a university?

2- If a professor does not answer my EMail, may I try again after several days? Or is it better to try other professors?

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1- Is it better to contact professors before formally applying to a university?

Yes. Especially in Computer Science because you will need to fit into a group at the University you are applying to, so it is useful to know before if the professor will have space in his/her research group for new students. It doesn't work this way in other fields, from what I've seen, but in Computer Science you need a prof to be willing to have you in their group. I met with a prof last month who told me that I should let him know when I have applied, so he can look out for my application because there was an applicant a couple years ago that wanted to work with him and he didn't realize that that person had applied. The applicant didn't get in simply because he didn't notice her application in the hundreds that they receive and so her application 'slipped through the cracks'.

2- If a professor does not answer my EMail, may I try again after several days? Or is it better to try other professors?

I wouldn't recommend this. Sometimes profs put on their websites that they don't have the time to respond to individual emails - did you check this prof's website? If they don't reply I would suggest contacting another prof who you're interested in at that school, or even try contacting the prof's grad students. If they don't reply and you still want to apply to that school, make sure that you mention that prof in your SOP and how you would fit in with their research. You might want to consider sending an email when you apply too, so that they can look out for your application (although I'm not sure of the etiquette here if you've never contacted him/her before)

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Personally I didn't contact anyone but it sounds like it's a good idea. The most important thing is to list who you want to work with when you write your admission essay - near the top so that it's noticeable - and usually your application will be forwarded to the right people.

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Hi,

I have following questions:

1- Is it better to contact professors before formally applying to a university?

Not necessarily. I believe this is not common practice in CS, but I still think it wouldn't hurt if you tried. I'm an international applicant and I didn't do it in the last application season. I'd say my result was pretty good, so I don't think contacting professors is really necessary.

2- If a professor does not answer my EMail, may I try again after several days? Or is it better to try other professors?

If they don't reply, they're probably busy so it's better not to bother them with unsolicited email. Better try other professors.

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Not necessarily. I believe this is not common practice in CS, but I still think it wouldn't hurt if you tried. I'm an international applicant and I didn't do it in the last application season. I'd say my result was pretty good, so I don't think contacting professors is really necessary.

If they don't reply, they're probably busy so it's better not to bother them with unsolicited email. Better try other professors.

When I was applying and I asked the faculty at my university that question, the response was "no, not until you're offered acceptance". However, I contacted a couple before asking people (was a little too anxious) and one response was "Please don't email me until you're accepted" and the second was "Go look at my publications". So... I feel like it's not a common practice, at least not in my field of CS (Systems).

Further, check the sites first. If you see something like this note:

"Decisions concerning admissions and financial aid here at [insert school] are made by a small committee. Because I am not a member of this committee, I have no input to or influence over the admissions or financial aid process. Therefore, please do not send me mail requesting that I intervene on your behalf, as I cannot do so. As you might imagine, I tend to get many such requests; their volume forces me to ignore them without response." it will answer both your questions :)

Ooops, didn't notice the first response already mentioned it. Sorry to reiterate.

Edited by timuralp
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