I have been rejected by a particular university for MS two times now. I really want to get into it to work with a professor. I am thinking of emailing him to ask him what I can do to improve myself to become acceptable. I am trying to improve myself on various fronts that I can think of, so I would like ask him if I am on right path. I am a first generation student and I have no guide to ask, so he is that only one I can think of, to ask these questions. What would be the proper subject line for this? Right now I have "Help needed to improve myself" as subject. In the body, I will explain my situation and ask him if he could give me some of his time. What would be the proper way to proceed in asking for his help?

  • Ask for "feedback" on what you could do to improve future applications. – Flyto Jun 25 '18 at 14:44
  • @FedericoPoloni I do understand that professors are people too, but aren't they people with very less time on their hands? Though the list provided in linked answer doesn't cover my issue. I am just asking for advice, whether my subject line is good enough to grab receiver's attention. – Fourierist Jun 25 '18 at 15:12
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    I would use a subject that is more specific like “Quick MS application feedback” – Dawn Jun 25 '18 at 16:10

If you want to work with this professor and hope to receive some help, you need to be familiar with their research. Then you can legitimately write "Prospective student interested in your research" as subject line. What to include in the email:

  1. You are interested in their research because of X, Y, and Z
  2. You want to apply to the MSc program and you are wondering whether the professor will accept Master's students in the coming year
  3. You have already applied twice and, despite what you think is a good CV, you have been rejected. Politely ask whether the professor would be willing to provide feedback on your CV to improve your application.

Note point 2: the professor may not be looking for MSc students! Lab needs fluctuate, professor may go on leave, may be busy with other projects, and so on. There are many reasons that have nothing to do with you why the professor may not be willing to accept you.

Good luck!


"Help needed to improve myself" sounds weird and spammy. I would suggest something like "MS application help", and make sure the body of the email is concise and to the point.

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