I am an undergraduate student applying to graduate schools. I tried to get in touch with a potential Ph.D. supervisor (in Electrical Engineering) but haven't heard back from him. In my application portal, the question asks me if I have already connected to a potential mentor, is it appropriate for me to write 'I tried to contact Dr. X, but haven't heard back from him.'?

If I am really interested in this professor's research, can I still show my interest to work with him on my statement of academic purpose (SAP)? Should I also include the name of another professor, in case Dr. X is not interested in my background? Thanks for the suggestions!

PS: The email I sent to Dr.X was just a few days ago. I could follow up a message, but it's close to the deadline of the application (12/15), so I'm not pretty sure what I should do.

  • 1
    "Just a few days ago" includes, at minimum, two weekend days, and in the US, two or more holidays. How many business days ago did you email? Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:17
  • Is this for US admissions or elsewhere?
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:20
  • @Azor Ahai -him- That's right, thanks for the comment. Actually, today is the 3rd business day. I'm just worried in case I don't hear back from him, can I still do that?
    – IGY
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:20
  • @Buffy Yes, this is for US admissions
    – IGY
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:21
  • Many universities also took the whole week off, so I would not stress yet. A good lesson in not waiting until the last minute. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can, and probably should mention at least the research area of the professor and name them if you like.

For US admissions, they may not write back since the admissions process is probably committee controlled and they have no part it it. If you get any response it is most likely to be just encouragement to apply. But you won't get accepted as their advisee so early (almost all cases).

However, don't make the SoP so focused on one thing that you seem to be rejecting any other options. That won't help you if slots in that area are oversubscribed. Keep some flexibility in it. But it is good to specify a direction and also how you plan to go about achieving success in studies and thereafter.

  • Thanks for the suggestions!
    – IGY
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:25

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