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applied to program, e-mailed Prof. with no reply, what next?


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so I have applied to the ESPM PhD program at Berkeley. I am mainly interested in working with two professors. I have e-mailed one before applying following the guidelines for a good e-mail. I have not received a reply. At this point I'm not sure if I should follow up and let him know that I have completed my application and/or e-mail my second reference and also let him know that I have applied. I think it is important for me to get some exposure because my GRE verbal scores were lower than the average.

What do you guys suggest?

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In general, I recommend not contacting professors after you've submitted your application, since it can be seen as a combination of pushy and trying to influence the admission process.

You want to contact them ahead of time, and if you haven't heard back from them by the time you submit, it's probably best to just wait. If you mentioned them in your SoP, your application will probably make it by them at some point, and they may contact you then.

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thanks. that seems a good advice. would it be acceptable to email one of the graduate student in the group to get a feeling for the group an the PI? or at this point it's not gonna much that much of a difference?

Please don't. It's one of the things that really annoys me. If you wanted to get a feeling for our group or the PI, you should've done it before you applied or you should wait until you get in. Also, since my group has no say in who gets admitted, telling us about your application does no good. We decide on a number of students to add, usually 1, in some cases 0, without seeing the applications. Then my advisor goes and finds the person that's a good fit with the rest of us based on interests, background, etc.

At this point, just chill. I realize it's hard but, your application is in and there's nothing else for you to do. Relax. Take a break. Go watch a silly movie or an entire season of a TV show on DVD.


FYI, I'm in the social sciences but my advisor keeps us all on the lab model. No, I don't know why. I just know that that's how it is. We have monthly lab meetings where everyone shares what they're doing, etc. It's a bit weird but, I figured I'd mention it because it's relevant here.

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I'm applying to Berkeley ESPM as well so I understand your confusion.

Based on my interpretation of the ESPM webpage, it seems that professors will have the opportunity to review applications/SOPs that list them and to make their "preferences," as it says, known to the committee, though it isn't clear what effect these preferences have on the admissions process (I'm assuming positive, but I don't know to what degree). I think at this point there's nothing to do but hope your listed POIs do take a look at your application (at least that's all I feel I can do at this point).

Did the POI you emailed have a "prospective students" section on his/her webpage or otherwise indicate how or if he/she expects to be contacted? They must expect emails considering that students are assigned an advisor upon acceptance, but it seems like some are still more interested in prior contact than others. Plus, I'm sure they all get many emails at all different times, so perhaps if the review of apps by POIs is the normal way of doing things for ESPM, then maybe some just wait until they have the chance to look at everyone who applied before they decide on their preferences.

This is all speculation of course, and I know it's frustrating because it does seem that the interest of potential advisors plays a role in the admissions process at ESPM and similar programs. At least ESPM doesn't require a faculty sponsor in order to even be considered for admission, as some EEB programs do, so hopefully things will work out!

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