Recently i have been applying to various Ph.D. programs and i have approached many professors as my potential supervisors and among those, i applied to Harvard and this is what the Director of the Program in one of the Ph.d programs there replied:

" Thank you for your email and your interest in our lab. To answer some of your questions, I do think that you would be a great fit both for ### and for our lab. Also, we will be taking new graduate students next year. As you probably know, we do not admit students directly into any one lab, but there is an admissions committee that decides on the students. Once you are admitted to ###, then I would be happy to talk about a rotation in our lab, etc. "

So what do you think are my chances of getting accepted and how should i further proceed with the conversation.

1 Answer 1


It's a completely neutral reply. I write these emails to qualified candidates about once a week myself. It is, in essence saying: "You've contacted the wrong guy. I'm not making the decision about admission. We'll talk again if and once you've been accepted and here."

In other words, I don't think you can draw any kind of inference from the email -- neither positive nor negative.

  • 1
    Yep. It's the usual way in universities in the US and Canada.
    – puppetsock
    Nov 14, 2019 at 14:33
  • I also thought of the same thing. can i ask you one thing is it like regular email professors send out to everyone who writes to them. Nov 14, 2019 at 16:00
  • @khwajawisal -- as mentioned, I write such emails quite regularly, and I suspect many of my colleagues do the same (if they take the time to write back at all). Nov 14, 2019 at 17:16
  • that's just what i wanted to know, thanks a lot and one last thing what is your definition of a qualified candidate. Nov 14, 2019 at 17:29
  • Well, at the very least, you can draw the conclusion his interests weren't so out of line the professor decline to respond. Nov 14, 2019 at 20:41

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