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So I met with a potential supervisor at an Open day and she seemed very excited at my research interest as it aligns with hers. She said she is recruiting students for Fall 2020 and she would want me on her team but wants to contact my references and will then get back to me. I know she contacted one already, and I know they gave a great feedback, but it's been more than two months now without hearing from her. Should I contact her and ask if she needs any extra info or wait?

Thanks!

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I know she contacted one already, and I know they gave a great feedback, but it's been more than two months now without hearing from her. Should I contact her and ask if she needs any extra info or wait?

Definitely contact her! There was genuine interest between you and you have nothing to lose, everything to gain.

It is easy to fall under the impression that contacting professors/supervisors is "a bother", and that you are being annoying by doing so. However, I have found that the opposite is often true: some supervisors use whether you follow up as a way of gauging your true interest in the position. So although I don't know the full context, I think waiting two months was not the best. Worst case scenario, she has now assumed you aren't interested anymore.

As long as you are not officially admitted, I would therefore follow up ASAP to make sure she knows:

  1. That you are still interested

  2. That you are waiting to hear from her (i.e., she has to do something), and what it is she has to do

Depending on her response you can follow up repeatedly as needed, for instance:

  • If she doesn't respond I would follow up again in about 1 week

  • If she responds indicating some delay (e.g., she is waiting for a response from reference X), follow up again depending on the expected delay, maybe 2 weeks or so

Also, you can directly talk to your other reference to see if they have been contacted by her. That could also help in case the reference is causing the delay.

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    Thank you for your very helpful response! I did contact her and this was her response: "I am in the process of finding more funding, and I haven't finished contacting your references. I will contact them soon but I won't know about funding for a few more months." Should I take that as a good response? and contact her again in a couple of months if I havent heard from her yet? – saralovesciences Mar 10 '20 at 14:44
  • @saralovesciences That is an OK response but not ideal, as it doesn't guarantee that you will have a position. Because it depends on funding, I would in fact assume you won't get a position, and make sure you have other options, but definitely follow up in a couple of months to check. – 6005 Mar 10 '20 at 15:26
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Many things might be happening/have happened:

1) The worst is that the other reference did not give positive feedback, or

2) The other applicants have better (from her perspective) profiles, or

3) She is busy and doesn't have time to proceed with recruiting processes, or

4) She is waiting until interviewing all the applicants and hearing from their references, or

5) Many many other possibilities.

Now what you can do is definitely contacting her so that you don't wait if there is no chance and you apply for other positions. She will most probably give you a definite answer.

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  • Thank you for your very helpful response! I did contact her and this was her response: "I am in the process of finding more funding, and I haven't finished contacting your references. I will contact them soon but I won't know about funding for a few more months." Should I take that as a good response? and contact her again in a couple of months if I havent heard from her yet? – saralovesciences Mar 10 '20 at 14:44
  • Put yourself in her position. Would you let someone wait for a potential position if you don't have it?? Definitely not. However, I recommend that you look for other positions because the answer means that you are still considered but it does not mean that you will get the position or that she will get the funding. If I were you, I wouldn't contact her anymore unless I have an offer from somewhere else and want to let her know that I might accept. – Younes Mar 10 '20 at 14:50

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