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When is the right time to contact POIs


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Hi guys,

New here- I tried the search function but could not find anything that fully answered my question so here goes:  I plan on applying for PhD program entry for Fall 2018. Applications seem to be due in December 2017, but I'd like to get a head start.  How soon is too soon to contact potential POIs?  For those of you who are already admitted or in progress, when did you start reaching out and/or when do you think a good time would be?  Also, what percentage of POIs actually responded back to you?  I noticed in some threads it seems that many do not even respond.

I don't want to overwhelm them, but I also don't want to wait until too close to application time. Thanks!

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Hi there! I contacted between August and October, and I got responses from most--I think three people emailed me back personally, one person's secretary emailed me back, and two people never responded. For the people who did email me back, they typically took a while (like a week or more). I don't think it hurts to get in touch, as long as you're respectful and keep your message short and sweet! 

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I don't think it is too soon to contact now as long as you have a well thought-out email. Make sure you've read an article or two from each POI and can ask an intelligent question about their work or note how your research interests may align.

Faculty are not technically paid to work during the summer on student mentoring, and although many still do, some make a point of not replying to email over the summer. Given this, if you write now and don't hear from someone, mark your calendar for a week after their school year starts and politely follow up.

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