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How to approach professors for RA?


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I have been unofficially admitted to an ECE PhD program (grad school has not confirmed yet). The e-mail containing the decision told me to contact professors that have similar research interests with me for research assistantship positions. Being an international student I am not hopeful getting TA in the first year of my PhD, and fellowship deadline was gone way before I applied, that leaves me with RA as the only possible funding opportunity. Could anybody help me out suggesting an effective way to approach the professors? I have selected some professors doing great works in my field of interest, what I need to do is find out a proper way to ask/convince them if they have any opportunity for me.

Thanks in advance.

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I am in a similar situation. I need to find an RA not just for funding but I really want the research experience as part of my M.S. I've contacted, by email, several faculty members who's research I thought was interesting to me. Many of them have not replied, but the ones who did cannot offer me anything at this point in time and I need to wait until I start the semester.

So, I guess, you can email some faculty, and as you are doing a Ph.D I am sure it will be much easier for you to find an RA.

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When I was trying to find an RA position as undergrad, I just emailed professors about it. I realize my situation's different from yours as I was merely looking to volunteer and wasn't worried about funding, but.... I emailed people at both my school and some others in the area, introducing myself, where I was in school, and why I was contacting them. I then proceeded to mention what I'm interested in and what I intended to do in grad school, followed by what lab experience I already had. It was very professional, and I got a LOT of people turning me down as they already had enough people in their lab. But I still had a decent amount ask for a C.V. or request that I email again in a month once the regular semester ended, and then got an interview.

I don't know exactly how it works in your situation, if the funding comes out of the individual PI's budget or whatnot, but as TKassis said, I'd be surprised if you ran into many problems since you're already accepted to the program.

And TKassis, it sounds like you're going about it more or less the same way I did.... but also don't forget about the PhD students who always need assistants for their own work as well.

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