I am an international student from an Asian country. I recently emailed one PhD supervisor at a well-ranked university in London with my CV attached to see if there are any PhD opportunities for me. The supervisor replied to me very quickly and invited me to have a Skype conversation with her.
She only asked about my research interests but nothing else during the Skype chat , which I actually considered as an informal interview (she even didn’t introduce her lab to me). After the Skype chat, she asked me to write my own proposal and proceed with the formal application, which made me to think at least she was happy with my application. After that, I drafted a few research ideas and sent them to her. She finally agreed with the ideas and edited the proposal for me for a few times.
From sending her the first email to finishing the research proposal, it took me around three months. We had more than 20 emails and one more Skype chat during that time. As it was an extremely complicated and tiring process, I think the reason why she continued to help me with the proposal was because she wanted to take me as a student. Otherwise, she can say no in any stages during this process.
The requirement of the university is to have a formal interview for all prospective phd student. The interviewer was the phd supervisor. However, I was rejected by her after the formal interview, which I couldn’t understand at all. If you want to reject me, why did you spend so much time on me and give me false hope? I just think this is not very ethical, as if you said no earlier, I would have had chances of finding other supervisors in the same university (I really wanted to get into this uni, the supervisor was actually less important).
So I am wondering here how you think about this supervisor (i.e why she rejected me in the end while writing the proposal with me during the past three months) and if this is normal in Western/UK culture?