Professor said: "I will encourage you to apply. You can apply for Spring, 2022 or Fall, 2022." I do not know how to comprehend this?

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    What do you not comprehend? Looks like the department allows people to start either semester.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 8, 2021 at 13:44
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    The professor replied this to which question? Sep 8, 2021 at 13:46
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    I emailed him because he was looking for some Ph.D. candidates. He asked me for my transcripts and research statement. I sent him both and got this reply that I posted here. I did not understand he is actually interested in me as a Ph.D. candidate. Does that mean he will give me the PhD position?
    – Sara Ahmad
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:39
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    @SaraAhmad I think your comment is helpful context, and I'd encourage you to add it to the question itself.
    – ASGM
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:42
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    "Does that mean he will give me the PhD position?" It means that he is in favor of you getting the position but you have to go through the institutional application and selection process. You cannot apply directly to him.
    – user9482
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


A professor who "encourage[s] you to apply" is doing just that: encouraging you to submit an application, not guaranteeing that you'll get the position once you do. It's a positive response, but it's also one that the same professor might give to multiple people.

You can take it as validation that your credentials meet a basic standard for consideration. But if you're ultimately not offered a place at this institution, remember that admissions decisions are often made by groups of faculty, not one person. Departments regularly face hard choices between multiple qualified people for each spot.

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