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So, I have applied to a Research Assistantship based Master's at a Canadian University. I have offers pending from other universities and would like to ask the professor if I am being considered. This is the email I wrote:

I hope you are safe and doing great.

Currently, I have received a few offers from other institutions. Their acceptance deadlines are beyond April and expect the first round of admission results of (your University) will be announced soon. I am taking courses on Power Electronics, Sensors and Motors (offered on Coursera). I found the interactive online learning quite helpful and once again thank you for suggesting me the courses a few months ago.

Just checking in to see how you are doing and what admissions timeline I can expect.""""

Is this an appropriate email?

  • If you got an offer from them would you definitely take it, or just add it to the pile you already have for consideration? – Buffy Apr 2 at 11:26
  • I'd take the offer if I get it from the professor's University – Badsha Apr 2 at 13:49
  • If you don't have to apply to other universities before the end of the month, and decisions are due soon from this university, why rush? – Azor Ahai -- he him Apr 2 at 14:25
  • What do you mean by "their acceptance deadlines are beyond April"? To me, that sounds unclear, but if I had to guess, I would think the deadlines were sometime in May. If this is the case, you might want to wait a few weeks before sending this at all. – cag51 Apr 6 at 5:35
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Given that you prefer an offer from them to all others, I suggest the following.

First, the opening and closing remarks are a bit trite unless you know this person already. You aren't writing to a friend, so keep it professional. I sometimes use "Stay safe" as a closing salutation now days, but nothing else.

But the important point is to leave out most of the detail.

I'm juggling some other offers now, but would very much prefer to accept one from you and would accept it if offered before I need to make a final decision. I wonder if I could have some decision from you by June 1. Also, thank you for the advice on things to do now. I'm following up on those and find them helpful.

That is really all you need. The date you give should be the drop-dead date for the other decisions.

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The email is perfectly appropriate and not offensive. However it is a bit confusing and the clarity can be improved.

Specifically, your email does not clearly highlight the question your asking and it is easy to ignore or misunderstand the purpose (why you are writing) because there is a lot of other stuff in it. That other stuff is definitely good to include (I think the professor may like to hear it!), but your question gets lost in all the other text, especially on a quick glance.

Here is some advice on how to make your question stand out more clearly:

  1. Put your question as early as possible in the email.

  2. Make sure that there is a question mark after your question. This actually makes a bigger difference than you might think.

Therefore, below is my suggested edit to your email.

I hope you are safe and doing great.

I am checking in to ask: do you think I might still be considered for admission to your group? What is the expected timeline?

I ask because I have received a few offers from other institutions. Their acceptance deadlines are beyond April and expect the first round of admission results of (your University) will be announced soon.

Also, I found the interactive online learning quite helpful and once again thank you for suggesting me the courses a few months ago! I am taking courses on Power Electronics, Sensors and Motors (offered on Coursera by University of Colorado Boulder).

Best regards,

[your name]


By the way, your post here has the same problem as your email :) You wanted to ask, "Is this an appropriate email?" but your question was hidden because there was no question mark. I edited your post to make it stand out more -- do you see how it makes a difference? When glancing at your post, now I can clearly see your question.

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