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Emailing faculty you listed before the Interview weekend


Psyentist
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Hey,

So most interview weekends are asking for a short list of faculty that you want to meet with. Is it a good/bad idea to email these people with an introduction/to let them know you listed them as people to meet with?

I was thinking a short "Hi I'm____, small intro about me, I requested you as faculty to meet with, short this why I did that, thank you"

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I just did that and received a super positive reply from my POI saying he "like the enthusiasm", "will definitely make time to meet me," and "would be great to recruit you here."

I didn't be this direct tho. I wrote I am ___, interviewing (insert date). I am extremely interested in your work on _____. After reading your website and some recent papers, I (insert question about lab, I asked what are the current projects).

he didn't answer my questions, instead, he referred me to a tech in his lab. But the reply was so positive that made me think I will be accepted haha. At least I know someone will be on my side after interview or so it seems.

Edited by cmykrgb
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7 minutes ago, biowligist said:

Hey,

So most interview weekends are asking for a short list of faculty that you want to meet with. Is it a good/bad idea to email these people with an introduction/to let them know you listed them as people to meet with?

I was thinking a short "Hi I'm____, small intro about me, I requested you as faculty to meet with, short this why I did that, thank you"

There are probably people out there who might be better to weigh in on this, but my experiences so far...

When I met with faculty at my last interview, they knew everything about me. They didn't say that upfront, but they asked about little details from my CV, personal statement, and presumably points in my reference letters. So they likely are given lots of information on you, so an intro isn't necessary. I had one faculty member that brought up stuff he'd found by googling me. 

I've also had several schools instruct in bold "Please do not email faculty members before your interviews", however this is probably school-dependent?

 

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2 minutes ago, PhDHopeful3 said:

There are probably people out there who might be better to weigh in on this, but my experiences so far...

When I met with faculty at my last interview, they knew everything about me. They didn't say that upfront, but they asked about little details from my CV, personal statement, and presumably points in my reference letters. So they likely are given lots of information on you, so an intro isn't necessary. I had one faculty member that brought up stuff he'd found by googling me. 

I've also had several schools instruct in bold "Please do not email faculty members before your interviews", however this is probably school-dependent?

 

Right, this school I emailed specifically encouraged emailing faculty "at any time during the application process"
but also some professor might not like that

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Unless you were given specific instructions to NOT email the professors, it should not hurt for you to email them. The worst that could happen is that they ignore your email (and don't feel bad if this happens since many profs won't write back if the only thing the email would say is "cool, see you soon!").

I would just write something like, "Dear Prof X, I will be visiting Awesome University during the Feb 16-17 interview weekend. I'm very interested in your work on XYZ and I have let [person**] know that I would love a meeting with you during my visit. I hope to see you next month!"

(** the name of the person that emailed you to ask for the list of names!)

Some notes:
- Specify the specific dates, as some programs have more than one meeting date
- Specify that you already let [person] know that you want to meet, so that it's clear that you aren't asking to schedule a special meeting with them
- Don't ask for anything specific! They will be very busy and usually these visits are all scheduled by the same person (or a small group of people) and not the faculty themselves, so coordinating anything outside of official channels can lead to confusion

Why I think it's good to do this:
- It shows enthusiasm and interest (and of course, only do this if you are genuinely interested, don't just do this for every single person). I would only send an email like this to one or two professors at each school that you are really really interested in meeting
- If the prof will be away that week, they will probably let you know. This will also help you because you don't need to feel like they were not interested in you if you don't end up getting a meeting with them. If they say they are away, maybe they will offer to call you or Skype you.
- Sometimes profs have more requests than they have time slots for. In this case, the meeting coordinator may ask the prof to choose who to meet with. Establishing this contact with the profs you're really interested in might make them choose you. (Corollary: This is why I don't recommend emailing 5 or 6 profs like this, since it won't help prioritize your meetings).

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32 minutes ago, TakeruK said:

Unless you were given specific instructions to NOT email the professors, it should not hurt for you to email them. The worst that could happen is that they ignore your email (and don't feel bad if this happens since many profs won't write back if the only thing the email would say is "cool, see you soon!").

I would just write something like, "Dear Prof X, I will be visiting Awesome University during the Feb 16-17 interview weekend. I'm very interested in your work on XYZ and I have let [person**] know that I would love a meeting with you during my visit. I hope to see you next month!"

(** the name of the person that emailed you to ask for the list of names!)

Some notes:
- Specify the specific dates, as some programs have more than one meeting date
- Specify that you already let [person] know that you want to meet, so that it's clear that you aren't asking to schedule a special meeting with them
- Don't ask for anything specific! They will be very busy and usually these visits are all scheduled by the same person (or a small group of people) and not the faculty themselves, so coordinating anything outside of official channels can lead to confusion

Why I think it's good to do this:
- It shows enthusiasm and interest (and of course, only do this if you are genuinely interested, don't just do this for every single person). I would only send an email like this to one or two professors at each school that you are really really interested in meeting
- If the prof will be away that week, they will probably let you know. This will also help you because you don't need to feel like they were not interested in you if you don't end up getting a meeting with them. If they say they are away, maybe they will offer to call you or Skype you.
- Sometimes profs have more requests than they have time slots for. In this case, the meeting coordinator may ask the prof to choose who to meet with. Establishing this contact with the profs you're really interested in might make them choose you. (Corollary: This is why I don't recommend emailing 5 or 6 profs like this, since it won't help prioritize your meetings).

I'm going with this, your answer is what I am leaning towards. I've emailed one person so far, and received a quick response, and a confirmation that I will be meeting with them. None of the schools I am interviewing at specifically advised against it.

thanks everyone

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