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I submitted my application for grad school with some professors as my potential supervisors. I have never contacted them prior to my submission.

Days ago I sent an email to one of them and asked him to take a look at my application and later he invited me to an interview. Interview went well but at the end he said there are some other candidates that he is interested in and he would interview them too. So I have to wait for the admission committee decisions.

In this situation, is it wise to contact other professors listed in my application and present my case to them? Some of them are working in a similar field to this professor and others have different research interests.

Please note that in my statement of purpose and CV, I mentioned my research goals which are inline with these potential supervisors' interests.

  • Since you say "my application for grad school" (singular), are these other professors at the same university/department? Departmental politics might influence the answer in that case. – Anyon Jan 23 at 20:28
  • I am not sure that all professors listed on application automatically got notified about my application. Since the university online form was somehow weird and has a textbox for list of professors. (not checkboxes or list boxes) – Ji Un Jan 23 at 20:29
  • @Anyon: Yes, they are all in the same department (CS) and have similar research fields. – Ji Un Jan 23 at 20:30
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Yes, you should keep looking until you get a commitment. It would be unwise to delay. I'm sure the person you talked to isn't expecting you to ignore other possibilities or follow up on them. Otherwise you would have gotten an offer.

Of course, you may be in a place where actual admission isn't in the hands of advisors, but a committee. In this case, no one can properly "accept" you until the larger institution does. So all offers in such places, from potential advisors, are tentative. Other places, the advisors accept and hire students, but even there, until you get a commitment, keep looking.

Of course, you need to be honest, when asked, if you are following up other leads. They will likely be aware, of course, since they know each other. This can't hurt you, and might even help.

If you are in a position to visit the institution in person, you might consider doing that and speaking to some of these professors. Email is much less effective in this sort of thing.

  • Agreed. Would add that a phone call is reasonable if visit unfeasible. (Younger generation sometimes doesn't consider to pick up the blower.) That said, this newfangled email thing is nice for getting preprints/reprints instead of the thing in the mail... – guest Jan 23 at 21:03
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Yeah, it's a good idea. It's not purely (or even mostly) to help your application. This guy might be your advisor (which is a decision from each end). Plus it's just networking, learn about his work and all.

I would not be put out if he has minimal time or refers you to a grad student or postdoc in the group. Especially if he has a big group, he has a lot to do and doesn't even know if you will be coming to his school or not.

I wouldn't canvas the waterfront, but I would reach out to a few (3? 5?) of the choicer options. Not just at this school but others.


Dear Professor X:

I am a rising senior at Enormous State University, applying to mechanical engineering Ph.D. grad schools, including SuperIvy. I noticed you in particular because of your work in ball bearings. (I did some undergraduate widget research at ESU. Just love the little metal shiny thing field of engineering.)

Would love a chance to chat with you briefly or someone in your group. Like to learn about what you are doing and get any suggestions as I go through movement towards Ph.D. programs.

Thanks in advance.

-Juin

  • Your sample seems a bit "flip" and unserious. I think it unlikely to attract much attention in that form. – Buffy Jan 23 at 21:04
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I think it is a good idea to contact other professors on your list. It is better to see that you're doing something to pursue.

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