So I have been talking to a professor in quantum game theory from a unversity in my city whom I have never met. We have been going back and forth on mails discussing ideas. I did alot of research and presented my ideas to him through mails. He has asked me to come meet him to further share the ideas face to face and introduce me to one of his colleagues. The main purpose of me contacting him was that I wanted to work on some research with him and probably find employment along side him as an RA or along those lines. I am really nervous to meet him. I feel that I may fumble while discussing with him. Could you please help as to what sort of discussions usually take place in meetings such as mine and what i should expect. Would the discussion be extremely technical that would test my knowledge to the core or will it be a casual and light exchange of theoretical ideas.

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    I know you are nervous, but it's only two people talking. We can't guess where the conversation will go, that's up to the two of you. And you are already talking to him via mail, this meeting is just the natural course for things, relax! That said, your question is way too broad for academia.se (country/field would help, not sure if it would be enough), as I said, we can't guess what the two of you will do, so expect some "vote to close"... Nov 4, 2015 at 14:01
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    Usually, professors do not test students' knowledge at their first meeting because they also know that you are nervous and may be afraid to lose you as a student due to your fears. Likely, the professor will just talk about his or her own research project and will not expect that much input from you. It is what I usually do. Nov 4, 2015 at 16:54
  • @phys_chem_prof Perhaps that's so for some professors: many, however, will test the students knowledge because they are highly selective about which students they wish to work with.
    – jakebeal
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:18

3 Answers 3


Even Houdini can't provide a to-the-point answer to this question; because guessing about the flow of a conversation sounds tough.

But, as this situation has been occurred, with high frequency, among the applicant and the potential supervisors, you might be eager to consider below subjects, will which be, probably, taken into account, within the target discussion.

  1. The professor has already heard your ideas. His/Her tendency to hear them, face to face, is maybe due to his/her propensity to assess your tone and realize how confident you are about them. Wrap up your self-reliance and put away any hesitation within talking about the ideas.
  2. You had, noticeably, claimed about any potential abilities within your emails, such as programming capabilities, acquaintance with any specific scientific theme and etc. The professor might ask something about them, trivially, to find out any proof for your claims.
  3. Evaluating your mental status and personal reflections would act as an important factor for the professor. He/She will focus on your excitation, manner of presentation and the temper. He/She would maybe try to trap you by anything just like bombardment by questions to see whether the anxiety will overcome you or not. This case often plays an important role for professor's final assessment upon you, as he/she must decide about the gratifying characteristics, presented by the applicant, to work with him/her, efficiently, within long graduate-level studies.

Based on my own experience and the fellows, have who crossed this bridge, the main context would be within the aforementioned stuffs.

Good luck


Since he wants to introduce you to others, I would say you already won. I would expect friendly conversation and discussion, and you should be prepared to answer the question how you would like to contribute to the topic in the future.

Let us know how the meeting ended ;).


Here's a starting point for your next letter to your potential advisor:

Dear Prof. So-and-So,

Our correspondence has been exciting and stimulating. I am pleased about your invitation to visit your institute, but I'm also nervous. My hope is to work on some research with you and possibly find employment alongside you, as an RA or something along those lines. Therefore I am really nervous about this meeting! I feel that I may fumble while discussing things with you in person. Could you please help as to what sort of discussion will take place in such a meeting, and what I should expect. Will the discussion be an opportunity for me to demonstrate my knowledge? Is there a particular topic I should prepare in advance of our meeting?

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