I have been following a researcher since last three years and have read all most all of his research papers (whichever is freely available). At the same time, I have been continuously upgrading my skills as per his research profile. I have got only one chance to prove my worth. What should I write in the e-mail, should I express my self or proceed as per normal formal applicant?

  • @Ric I actually think this question needs to be answered because the OP wants to contact a "role-model" of his for a PhD position; without knowing many factors that might impact his PhD/life after being accepted.
    – o-0
    May 17, 2016 at 17:23
  • @DaveRose Agreed. Relevant question with a different slant. May 17, 2016 at 17:38
  • 1
    I think this is a duplicate of the above linked question. Sure, this researcher is OP's "role-model," but, to the researcher, OP is just some other student looking to get a spot in the group. Thus role-model status is irrelevant, and proceed as if researcher were not your role model.
    – Mad Jack
    May 17, 2016 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


This is a wrong approach and attitude. The whole thing will result in disappointment 99% of a time, because:

Your Work Should Impresses People Not Your Emails: If you think there is golden secret rule, that make your email irresistible to those people you want to impress then you be wrong. All you need is a good set of achievements.

Finding a Role-Model Without Knowledge: Whatever key points you might think that highlight a good researcher might be wrong because you did not achieved a good sense of research yourself. You might think, well he/she done this or that, and he/she might even rightfully impresses you; however, without knowledge of a field, finding a role-model to collaborate with is wrong.

High Maintenance Supervisors are Worst For PhD Students: Good or bad, you need to make your PhD an impressive achievement, and not your supervisor(s). Now, lets assume that your assumption is right and he/she is the God in that field. These people are mostly are worst supervisors, because they have no time to spend on you. While you might ask him/her about a topic, you think he/she has the mental power and will to answer you? He/she is running around to that class/conference/journal or book deadline/new faculty member interviews and on and on.


Don't waste your time chasing "role-models" while looking for PhD position. Find a supervisor that has time to spend on you. Someone that is always around to help his/her students. If you go with a "rock star" supervisor, then you most likely will be disappointed as he/she has no time to guide you through your PhD.

  • 2
    Good response. It is like pursuing the "one" romantic partner without that partner knowing it. In general, not a good idea. May 17, 2016 at 17:39
  • I agree, but just want to note for the benefit of others that the answer may be different for a post-doc position, where you might need less supervision and more connections.
    – Bitwise
    May 17, 2016 at 19:18
  • @Bitwise Yes, and I highlighted that fact.
    – o-0
    May 17, 2016 at 22:49

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