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Contacting professors for PhD vacancies

I will be applying for PhD programs (particularly TCS) for Fall, 2013. Should I personally try contact advisors for this purpose? At some universities, there are multiple faculties whom I want to work with. If I don't contact them then am I at a disadvantage? What should I write about if I should contact them? Any other advice is appreciable.

I am sorry if this sounds a stupid question or not a real question but since many of the users are here themselves faculty and PhD students, I thought it to be the best place to ask this question.

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    I'm not sure that it helps to contact the faculty directly unless there is some special situation with respect to your application that they should be aware of. But if you do contact the faculty, frame your letter as "I will be applying to your school, and I thought you might like to know more about me ...". Not as "you will be making a truly horrendous mistake if you don't accept me" or "what secret formula can you tell me that will let me get into grad school to work with you?" – Peter Shor Sep 3 '12 at 12:00
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    If you contact faculty, do so as a professional colleague, not as a prospective employee. – JeffE Sep 3 '12 at 14:12
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    The answer to this question depends on local traditions. When applying for graduate schools, there is no need for contacting faculty. If, on the other hand, you apply in Germany for a more traditional doctorand position (those are employees) there is no way but contacting the respective faculty. – Raphael Sep 3 '12 at 14:56
  • thanks for the valuable feedbacks above. For now i have decided to not to send mails as im applying in US. – singhsumit Sep 3 '12 at 16:27
  • I am in the process of applying as well, and was wondering: if I intend to apply to 10 schools in the USA, and I email 2-3 profs at each school, won't I be emailing 20-30 people?! – Legendre Sep 4 '12 at 16:26