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I met briefly with a professor last year and showed him a poster of my work which was not good at that time (It was some sort of a presentation in which we show our work and research). Then I decided to apply for a PhD so I emailed him and he told me to apply. I knew that he will be coming to the same presentation this year so I emailed him again saying that might be an opportunity to talk in person. He never returned my email. That was two months ago. Ten days ago I was rejected from that university (I guess he made the decision). Yesterday, I presented my work in front of the whole audience which was much better than the one I presented last year (Even though I was rejected, I tried to impress him). I didn't talk to him directly then. Just now he viewed my profile on linkedin (Which he did multiple times previously awhile back).

Does it make sense to follow up now? At to least know why I was rejected and why the sudden interest just after my presentation? I know it is very difficult, but would it even be possible to flip the rejection into admission now if he decided to?

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    Often PhD admissions are decided by committee. Why do you guess he made the decision on your case? – Kimball Mar 26 '15 at 9:42
  • I was asked to list an advisor who will review my application during the application ... so I just guessed they followed the approach where the advisor accepts student – user18244 Mar 26 '15 at 10:01
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    He may not have rejected you. I've often "selected" a student but that student ended up 13th when there were only 12 offers and rolldowns. And it's typical that faculty observe communications blackout periods while applicants are under review. – RoboKaren Mar 26 '15 at 10:50
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I know being rejected is extremely disappointing but be careful to not read too much into the situation. It is quite possible that this person does not remember that you applied to the program, did not review your application at all (even though you requested them as a supervisor), or wanted to admit you but could not because of funding limitations or departmental politics.

Keep in mind that the fact that you know that this one person has viewed your LinkedIn profile is, honestly, a little creepy. The fact that you are reading so much into the "sudden interest" that comes from visiting the website of a person you see presenting seems to be a little obsessive. It is totally normal to search for more information about people one sees presenting work.

If you are honestly interested in knowing how you can improve your graduate applications in future years, and if you think that you might learn things that you will actually be able to improve your application, emailing might be helpful. That said, if s/he doesn't get back to you, keep in mind that it might just be because s/he is busy or flaky and responding to the students one has not admitted is often a relatively low priority item on a very long list of more urgent things.

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    Well said. +1 for the web stalking comment. – RoboKaren Mar 26 '15 at 10:51
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    I'm not sure I understand the comment(s) about LinkdIn viewing of profiles, that is what it is used for and good at. I know exactly who views mine and when.... how is that stalking? – CGCampbell Mar 27 '15 at 3:03
  • Thank you for the answer but I'll have to agree with the last comment. Moreover, I am not the one who viewed my profile many times, he is.... – user18244 Mar 27 '15 at 20:18
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    Regardless of the terminology you use to describe it and whether or not you think it's justifiable for me to feel the way I do, I can tell you this: As a professor who has been involved in reviewing and admitting students, I would find you bringing up my webpage reading habits to be both off-putting and obsessive. – Benjamin Mako Hill Mar 28 '15 at 12:17

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