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Communication with prospective PhD advisors


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Hello all,

I am in the process of applying to PhD programs in Civil Engineering and Oceanography. I started way ahead of the game and began contacting potential advisors back in May and June. I have spoken to quite a few via Skype and one in person. I am wondering since it has been a while, should I be sending email to check in or something? I don't want them to forget about me since it has been so long. 

I also had another question. Have any of you had the experience where you were speaking to a professor and they said they had a spot for a new student and basically said you could have it as long as you apply? I am just curious of the odds of talking to professors and them actually wanting to accept you before applications are due. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey fallfish,

If you've already asked all of the questions you had and the profs left it on a good note, there is no need to reach out again imo. Instead, reach out and let them know when you've submitted the application and thank them again for taking the time to speak with you before. This puts you in their minds closer to when applications will be reviewed and doesn't take up more of their time needlessly. 

As for your second question, I'm fairly certain the chances of a prof telling you you'll get in just as long as you apply is slim to none. One professor rarely has the ability to make admissions decisions alone and it would be irresponsible of them to promise something when they have no way to actually guarantee it happens. That being said, professors can say things that indicate they think you are a strong applicant or would like to work with you if you do apply (and are accepted/choose to go there). Just today I spoke with a professor who told me point blank they want me to apply to the program and would be excited to work with me if I go to their program. Again, this is not a guarantee of admission, but is a good indicator that our conversation went well and that I can mention this prof in my SoP.

Hope this helps!

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