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Communicating with two potential grad advisors in the same research group - advice?


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Hello everyone,

I am currently an undergraduate senior and soon I will be applying for MS grad programs for Fall 2016 admission. I have a question about some communication protocol here, and am looking for some advice.

A program at the top of my list has a research group led by two PIs. Earlier in the summer, I reached out to one of the PIs via email to introduce myself, to ask some questions about the program/group, etc, and it was well received; after a few emails, I think the PI is very interested in me. I asked if it was okay if I contacted the other PI, and I was told sure, go ahead, that they both often co-advise grad students and everyone in the group works closely. I did that, and the other PI responded also very favorably to my inquiry. Both of them have told me about specific projects that they are working on and how many grad students they are expecting to take on to work on whichever project.

I'm now in this place where I'd really like to attend this program- it seems like a really good fit for me academically and personally. Both of the PIs are doing interesting work, overall I'd love to go there, but I don't know how to handle the next step of communication. I wish to convey that I'd really like to be a part of their research group, and that I'm interested in pretty much all of the research both of them are doing, and that I would be happy working on any project they have. However, I fear that this would make it look like I'm not focused enough, which honestly, I don't feel like I am. I honestly would be happy to work on whatever project they have, because I would be interested in any of it. Would this hurt my chances of being admitted? Would it be a good idea to be forthright with both of them and say something like "I would really like to be admitted to the program and work in your group, all of the research the group is doing is interesting to me"? Or should I be more committed to one project? It seems silly to commit beforehand to a project when I haven't even been admitted, but I am unfamiliar with how this works, and I do not want to step on any toes by saying I'd prefer one project over another, especially when I really don't.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!

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