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Contacting POIs for Master's Programs

Switching Geertz

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I've read a bunch of threads in other sections on the site that discuss contacting POIs, but I haven't come across an answer regarding master's applicants. Has anyone done this/not done this? Would it be a mistake not to? The deadlines are coming right up of course and I don't exactly want to email at the last minute (should have thought of this a month ago!). There are several professors I'm interested in working with, and I mention them in my statements. Part of me feels like it would be overkill to contact professors with whom I would mostly just be taking a bunch of classes, and not working on major research. Thoughts?

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It's always nice to be able to match a face/name with an application. As therewillbeluke (great name, by the way) mentioned, you want to email them with a question, either about the program, their work, "what sorts of qualities do students who do the best in your program have?", etc. It's nice to be able to start a conversation, but it's a little late in the game for an extended email back and forth. Making some sort of contact will probably be a benefit, even at this point.

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I searched through my email for what I wrote when I reached out to the professor who is now my advisor when I was applying for M* programs right out of undergrad, and visiting schools. I think it's important not to be too specific, since it's just a master's program, but examine more whether or not your interests are a good fit with the school and the faculty. I emailed introducing myself and asking if we could set up a meeting when I visited the area. We had a meeting, it was great, and I got in. My (ultimately successful, I suppose) email went like this:

subject line: prospective graduate student visiting chicago

Dear Professor X,

My name is GRAD STUDENT and I'm a senior WHATEVER major at Secular Liberal Arts College currently in the process of applying to the Divinity school. I study both THIS LANGUAGE and THAT LANGUAGE and am mainly interested in THIS THING as well as the relationship between THIS THING and THESE OTHER THINGS. It seems as though Chicago has the perfect combination of interdisciplinary resources and scholars like yourself who work in areas that I have a background in and want to explore more deeply. I'm going to be in Chicago for a few days after THIS SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD and I was wondering whether you would be on campus and willing to have a conversation about the WHATEVER program in the Div School, and whether you think it's the right place for someone with my background and interests.

Thank you,


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