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Contacting professors


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Here's hoping someone who's gone through this process will have insight into this: Having finalized my list of schools, I'm refining a (fairly epic) list of professors whose research interests I share. Is it problematic if some of these professors are tenure-track associate or assistant professors? Most are full professors; still, it gives me pause.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The advice I have received from my mentor is: Don't apply to a school for one professor. People move, get better offers, don't get tenure, retire...

If there are a handful of people at any one department, I wouldn't worry if some are not tenured. But if there is only one person at a school with whom you would like to work, then its probably not a place to apply.

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Good call! As I've begun to trim my list of schools from an unreasonable number to a barely-reasonable number, I'm deciding against programs that only have one or two professors with whom I'd like to work. Do you have a final list? If so, how did you arrive at it?

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For financial reasons, I'm actually holding off until next year to apply. To appease my anxiety, I'm lurking on this site and dabbling in SoP writing/school research.

I made a massive spreadsheet, and just started plopping in information about location, faculty of interest, funding, etc. and some jumped out at me right away (Berkeley Rhetoric), and some jumped out right away as poor fit (Harvard, Claremont), and now I'm sifting through the rest. I'm doing this by looking into those "faculty of interest" folks and I cut and paste into my spreadsheet.

It's such a crazy process! What has yours been?

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