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What is POI?


windypoplars
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It seems like contacting the POI is important, but is it imperative to contact those ppl individually? It seems like some schools look for students who are just compatible with the whole faculty, as opposed to just one. In such cases, is it still important to contact the POI? 

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That depends on if you're going for a master's or a PhD. In most PhD programs, your research fit with your POI is your ticket into the program. Many PhD applications ask you to indicate your top three-five professors you'd like to work with. If the professor in question is accepting students for their lab, and they choose your application out of all the rest, you will be assigned to them, either as your first-year mentor, or as your assumed PI for the entire time you'll be at the school. This is often how you receive funding, as well. Needless to say, the POI is important to your admission. Contacting them ahead of time helps you assess whether or not you have similar research interests and if they're accepting students for the coming year, as well as helps you stand out from the pile of applications being reviewed.

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It seems like contacting the POI is important, but is it imperative to contact those ppl individually? It seems like some schools look for students who are just compatible with the whole faculty, as opposed to just one. In such cases, is it still important to contact the POI? 

 

I've been told this is important. However, I didn't contact any of my POIs before sending in my applications (basically just because I got busier than I'd anticipated in August/September, and ran out of time to do the research I needed to). 

 

Anyway, I got interviews with 4 of the 6 schools I applied to (and at the other two I was an international applicant, which of course has its own set of circumstances). So I don't think it's a catastrophe if you don't contact them, but it's probably helpful, especially if you're not sure how strong your application is.

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