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I have applied to 4 PhD applications in Computer Science and I have sent an introduction email to a professor in each of the schools I have applied to. In this email I first introduced myself and then mentioned one of their papers I'm interested in, and at the end asked them for any time they can give me to meet them in person and talk to them about my future plans.

But, I just heard from one professor and the rest have not replied my email after two weeks. How could I write an email to remind them about my old email I sent them?

I googled and did not find a concise answer. Any help is appreciated.

marked as duplicate by Massimo Ortolano, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Buzz, Enthusiastic Engineer, Brian Borchers Oct 13 '16 at 21:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • yeah, I got the same question as yours. I have just received a reply from my professor after more than 5 days I sent out the email. so I upVote your question, I hope it will help. – kitty Jan 27 '15 at 17:18
  • Thank you :) I couldn't find any good answer out here. I hope I could find one here.. – margol Jan 27 '15 at 17:21
  • Why did you ask to meet with them in person if you are not already at the school? Are you going on a grad school visit? If it's a grad school visit after you've been admitted, they are much more likely to be willing to meet with you. – Kimball Jan 28 '15 at 2:14
  • @Kimball - No, it's not grad school visit. I asked them to meet in person because all the time if professors are interested in you, they want to know more about you and ask for interviews, and since I'm very near to these grad schools I asked for meeting them in person, if possible. – margol Jan 28 '15 at 16:02
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As a busy professor myself, I personally appreciate getting a reminder email. I fully intend to reply to every email I get from a prospective student, even if only to say "Sorry, your research interests do not seem to be a good match for the work we are doing in my group." But in practice, life gets busy. I'm traveling. Or I'm booked solid with meetings and so I don't have time to immediate answer the 50 or so daily emails requiring responses. And so some emails fall through the cracks. Thus I appreciate receiving a single reminder email. Such emails help me do something I want to do: namely, be the kind of person who gives every serious inquiry the courtesy of a response. (A second reminder email is not necessary. If I haven't replied the first two times, there is likely a reason.)

As for what to write, anything short and sweet and non-accusatory should be fine. Personally, I prefer the polite fiction that perhaps I did not receive the original email. You know it's not true, I know you know it's not true, but in phrasing your note this way we agree to mutually overlook these facts. I'd suggest something very simple, such as the following.

Dear Prof. X,

I wrote you a letter a few weeks ago, but given the uncertainties of email I do not know whether you received it. Thus I am resending my note just in case.

With my best regards, Joe

[and then append the earlier letter here]

5

Generally speaking, I would recommend that you don't.

I think it is perfectly fine to send such an e-mail in the first place, but you should remember that these professors don't owe you a response. Admissions (at least in the US, in mathematics -- I would guess CS is the same) are typically handled by a committee, and many professors might prefer to wait until the committee has decided whom to admit before trying to recruit prospective graduate students.

However, you might send similar e-mails to other professors in the same departments. At least in my field, it is a good idea to study at a department where there are several professors with whom you would interact scientifically.

In the fall, such e-mails are more likely to get a response, since professors are trying to encourage strong students to apply. As it is now, since you have applied already, I would recommend waiting for an official response and following up if you are accepted.

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First of all, most academics are busy people who do need to research on the top of the all the other duties they have at the university. So, some academics do reply late or even don't reply if their answer is no. Therefore, here for you it is important to get their attention and have an answer from them (either yes or no) before you send more emails/reminders with the possibility of no response.

The best bet to get the attention of a busy academic is send an email to the secretary of the research group, the academic is working for. In the email tell the secretary what is the best way of communicating with the academic, as you sent him/her an email and he/she did not reply to you.

  • Thank you for your answer. I may do this, but I asked how I could write a reminder email to a professor. Can you please suggest one reminder email? – margol Jan 27 '15 at 16:31
  • @margol Ok updating my answer to be more clear :-) – o-0 Jan 27 '15 at 16:36
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    Not all research groups have secretaries. Not all academics are parts of bigger research groups; some have just themselves and their students. – Bill Barth Jan 27 '15 at 17:15
  • @BillBarth Not all students want to get their Ph.Ds in the average universities. Most high rank universities that I studies/been to have number of secretaries for their research groups. – o-0 Jan 27 '15 at 17:24
  • Who said anything about average? It think it varies a lot from university to university and department to department. Also, from my experience, if they're that big, they also have websites where they post openings (RA-ships) for students and probably will not respond if they don't have openings. – Bill Barth Jan 27 '15 at 17:40

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