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shall I email professors while waiting for decisions


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Hi all,

      I have finished all of my applications to sociology PhD but haven't got any notice yet. I didn't contact a professor till now....But one of my current professors as well as some other students (I am now in a master's program of social policy now) highly advice me to try to contact some professors that I mentioned on SOP, potentially to express my interest in working with them.

      I have viewed the previous discussions of whether or not to contact professors, but still not sure whether it is a good time to do so now. Will they think "If you are really interested in my research, why don't you contact me earlier?" or its just doesn't matter when you talk with them as long as you two are really good match? I am an international student, and kind of unsure about how Amerian people will look at this. Because it seems to me, a Chinese, that it is a sentative time and case. And if the professor that I emailed is in the committee, which I don't know, will this be considered a waste of his time/ affensive/ somthing unfair for other applicants/ or simply unwelcome because he at least already have the whole of your application package there, what else do you have to show?? And if the professor is not in the committee, is it really going to help, especially considering the fact that he may have been overwhelmed by emails of applicants? And will emailing professors in some case negatively affecting the chance?

    I have been struggled about this for really a couple of days.... And I kind of feel like it's something that could cause unfairness of the process... But I am really not sure how professors in the US see it.  I really need your answers to help me out !

   A lot lot of thanks!



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I will apply next year. Here is my opinion:


I will be contacting professors this summer. I know what type of project I want to do for my phd and I know what professors are well known in that line of work. The reason I want to contact them though is to make sure they will be taking students, they will be continuing the projects that interest me most in their publications, and that have the lab environment that I am looking for. I want to have a phone call with the professors to gauge whether they have the type of mentor style that I will excel with. Based on this information, I will narrow down my lists of schools that are a perfect fit (There are about 20 professors who I am interested in talking to). I think that contacting professors is very important, more for the student's info than anything admission related. You basically interview the professor before putting time into applying. How else do you know if the lab will be a good fit or not?


At this point though, I think that emailing professors will be a bit pointless. You already spent the time/money applying so learning whether they are taking students now and have a good lab fit wont help you. You can gather this information just as easily after being admitted or at the interviews.

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