I'm a BSc holder looking for grad. studies. I contacted a professor from a good US university (not Ivy League) about his work and publications which I liked very much. I told him about my research background etc, his answer included the following points:
1- Telling me that I have "a very good background".
2- That I must first be admitted to the university and he can't directly take students.
3- The fact that 1st year is not so research-oriented and he can't say if he will be able to take a new student.
4- Telling me that I should apply.
This I think, isn't a specific case just for me so I'm going to ask here.
Funding is very important for me, I cannot fund my study even for a semester. Where should I go from here and what to ask to make sure of funding my Ph.D. study from the begining? Can I make sure I'll have a RA position before even applying?