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A couple of weeks ago, I emailed a professor (at a different university) about becoming my graduate advisor. While they didn't explicitly agree to do so (the program isn't accepting new students until next year), they expressed interest in my proposed thesis topic and asked the program director about a specific disability accommodation I mentioned. They also gave me his email in case I had further questions about the logistical issues etc.

My question is: Would it be impolite not to email him or would that seem like I wasn't seriously interested in the program. (The professor answered my questions pretty thoroughly.) I've thought about asking him if they have "rolling admissions" or if it would be too early to apply within the next couple of months (currently studying for the GRE, so I can't apply before I take it), but then I thought that asking such a trivial question might be worse than not contacting him at all.

Also, should I have thanked the professor for their reply? I had even brought up the situation with my previous prof. (whom I fell out with), which most professors would probably have seen as a red flag, but they expressed understanding. Given their kindness, I didn't want to be rude by not replying, but I'm not sure how to reply. Would replying to such a thorough email with one line such as "Thank you for the information" seem curt, and is it too late since almost two weeks have passed since then?

*To clarify, this new professor knows the other professor that I had the falling-out with, so I figured I would take the chance of explaining the situation and asked them to help me reconcile with her. (If anyone is unfamiliar with the situation, I misinterpreted her [my former professor's] email and wrote a letter to the department chair accusing her of triggering my anxiety on a few occasions with a "curt" tone, but later tried to retract the grievance and wanted to apologize to her.)

Update: I emailed the director, and he sent me a friendly reply answering my questions about the deadlines etc. I genuinely was curious about the deadlines, it wasn't that I was making up an excuse to email him, but I thought it might have been a "trivial" question. I don't know how he actually perceived it, but his email was polite and welcoming. I then thanked him for the information.

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    Why is this being downvoted? I'm confused as to whether the downvotes mean that I should email the director and/or professor or whether it would be a bad idea to do so. – Gemini Aug 8 at 22:02
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    I am not sure about the exact downvotes, but I found this confusing. It seems to have too many details in some places and not enough in others. The beginning felt like I was missing some back story. You emailed a faculty member at another university and asked them to contact your current advisor? – Dawn Aug 9 at 3:02
  • No, I contacted a professor at another university (whom I want to be my graduate advisor) and asked them to contact my former professor at my alma mater that I had the falling-out with. (They know each other, so I was hoping that this new professor could help me reconcile with her.) That was only one part of the email, however; I also asked the new professor about becoming my graduate advisor. – Gemini Aug 9 at 3:39
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    You probably got downvotes because the question is convoluted and applicable only to your specific case, i.e. no effort to abstract from your specific situation, i.e. of no general interest to other users. – henning -- reinstate Monica Aug 9 at 7:14
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    I think a very kind note of appreciation for her advice and her empathy would be appropriate. You could say that you will be sure to reach out to the program director in the future if specific questions arise. I would expect a note back if I wrote a long email to a student. – Dawn Aug 9 at 17:41
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However, they also gave me the program director's email in case I had further questions about the logistical issues etc.

If you don't have real further questions, there is no reason to email the program director. Please, respect their time.

Also, should I have thanked the professor for their reply?

You certainly can do it. In this case, you should thank them for the information and point out that it will be useful for your potential application in the next year. This does not commit you to do anything. Also, don't expect a mandatory reply to your thank-you email.

Is emailing a program director with a trivial question worse than not emailing them at all when a professor from their department, whom you want to have as your future advisor, inquired about questions you asked and then gave you their email for further inquiry?

The email was provided to you to answer some logistical questions. In no way, emailing with some made-up or not-bothering you questions will help to "show your interest in the program".

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