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Is contacting your potential PhD supervisor advisable, prior to applying?


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Hello everyone!

I am applyng of chemical engineering, PhD programs, Fall 2016 at universities in US. I was thinking, may be you guys can help me with a few doubts that I have, based on your past application experience or whatever experience you have. Is it advisable or recommended to contact your potential research supervisors at the school you are applying? 

If yes, then when is the right time to do so? 

Thanks in advance for your help. :) 

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When I was applying to Masters programs I contacted the professor listed on the programs admissions page of one of the universities.  This helped alot.  She implied that I would be accepted if I aapplied, which was good.  Be sure to have something important to talk about.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sending them an email to let them know you're interested in their work before you apply is a great idea. However, make sure you do your research on their lab (read a couple of current paper and their website) before sending an email. Ask a question about the papers that you couldn't find by googling. Ask whether they will be accepting any new students for fall 2016; professors don't always take students every year. You could also ask a bit about where projects are heading and what you could expect if you were accepted and started working in their lab. Just make sure the emails are thoughtful and not generic and you'll likely get a response. If you send a generic "Dear Sir/Madam, I am very interested in your innovative work and would like to be a graduate student in your lab" email, you will likely never get a reply and can actually negatively impact your chances for admission. Be specific. Be thoughtful. Do your research. Crafting a good initial contact email should take at least an hour, including the the you spent researching their lab. Good luck!

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