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Contacting professors


CrazyCatLady80
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I am in the process of contacting graduate students at some of my top programs to see what they think of their program and any recommendations in the application process. Several have suggested that I contact the POIs now (or maybe toward the middle of October when things have quieted down a bit). Do you think that is a good idea? Is it better to wait till I am actually working on the applications? Part of me thinks it might be better when I am finished up with this article that will be my writing sample so I can have a clearer idea of my research interests?

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Any professor you contact now or in the middle of October will assume you are applying in the Fall of 2013 cycle. Professors get a lot of contact from graduate students at this time of year and they are likely to loose track of you. If you go to conferences and meet people face to face that is a different thing, but I would wait.

The summer before your application season is when I'd seriously start thinking about it. Know that professors will likely only start paying serious attention October to November and after about december in most cases the window has closed.

but again... all of this would be a year off for you.

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I agree. I know you are anxious to get started and find just the right programs for you but you do need to concentrate on finishing your degree if you aim to apply for fall 2014. I would not worry so much about your writing sample.

Don't over-think this process- by contacting grad students before talking to their advisers is one step too much. It will oy make it even more emotionally draining than necessary. I'm saying this from my own experience, though I never talked to grad students unless recommended by the POI.

Also grad students often don't know what their advisers are up to when it comes to recruiting new students- it's a personal matter. Grad students will only get involved if asked to. Also it may make some uncomfortable at that very thought of having a new "sibling" so to speak unless they are on their way out or absolutely assured of their relationship that their advisers wont devalue them in favor of a new toy. Beware.

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  • 1 year later...
Also it may make some uncomfortable at that very thought of having a new "sibling" so to speak unless they are on their way out or absolutely assured of their relationship that their advisers wont devalue them in favor of a new toy. Beware.

 

 

I've heard a lot about graduate students (in some areas) being very competitive and uncooperative. What stems this type of approach?

 

Also, how many advisees would be considered too many for an adviser? I know this will vary greatly by adviser, but if a POI is telling me that they have a dozen or more advisees, what could that mean for me?

 

It seems to me that the adviser-advisee relationship is the most important part of the Ph.D. experience. To steal a phrase I believe I read here recently, if I'm going to marry someone, I need to know it's going to work.

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If anything I think some of the advisers who have lots of students can make better ones. They have lots of experience training and placing students and not only tend to have a really great plan for you to follow, but a whole network of advisee children who can help you out on the market. They also have reason to stick around campus more rather than jet off on sabbatical or whatever, since they need to be available to their students more often. 

 

I should add that some of these same points (with the glaring exception of the latter) also accrue to older advisers with lots of experience and former students.

Edited by czesc
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