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I emailed a professor about a potential lab position in the summer about two weeks ago. He replied a very nice e-mail the next morning saying that he is interested and has open positions. He asked for some information (transcript, CV). I sent those to him that same day and we exchanged a few e-mails. After that he just went ghost... I sent a follow-up e-mail after one week, still no response. Now it has been two weeks and I'm debating whether I should send him another e-mail.

Is this kind of situation normal? What's the best action in this case? I've had tons of experiences of professors not replying e-mails, but this is new to me... I definitely don't want to sound annoying by sending multiple follow-up e-mails. Any help would be appreciated!

  • What kind of position is it? Unpaid RA? Work-study? Lab manager? Summer only internship? These could all play a factor. Also, how did you phrase the email you sent to the professor? Some context could give us more to work with. – ssjjaca Jul 16 at 3:37
  • If this is concerning an "undergrad project which would carry on to next semester as part of the coursework", I'd go to their office. If they are not there (or too busy for a quick discussion) talk to the secretary and try to schedule a short meeting. – Roland Jul 16 at 6:25
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Many professors regularly receive 2-3 such email requests every day. The likeliest reason for the professor ignoring your email is that they thought your CV wasn’t impressive enough and decided to not follow up with the hope that you’ll get the hint.

That may not be the only reason though. Could be that they’re traveling (especially if it’s summer), could be that your subsequent emails went to spam, could be that other interns were selected, could be that they forgot.

If you want to get someone’s attention I suggest avoiding mass generic emails (they’re obvious and I ignore them). Try to show interest in the work. Perhaps send your thoughts about a specific project you’d like to be a part of. You’re competing for someone’s time: try to show why you’re worth it.

  • Hi thanks for answering!!! This is not like a competition for a summer job; it's more like an independent undergrad project which would carry on to next semester as part of the coursework. I'm taking his research class next semester, so it's not like he can ignore me forever... And we did exchange e-mails after I sent my CV, and he basically said yes. It's more like someone suddenly stopped talking in the middle of a conversation, which is why it really confuses me. – ohringe_chinken Jul 16 at 1:12
  • When you write lab position in the summer it might be misleading to some... Could be just traveling then. Try emailing them a summary of what you plan on doing then – Spark Jul 16 at 1:14

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