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A stream of letters to professors

 

A stream of letters to Professors 
could improve your 
chances of admission greatly

The article covers one of the most important aspects of the application process: Writing to Professors in the universities that you are applying to.

Getting in touch with a professor (from the department to which you 
are applying) from each of the universities to which you are planning 
to apply will help a lot in assessing your chance of admission and aid. 
This may in fact enhance your prospects. 

But, as always, you need to be cautious and systematic in your 
approach. I suggest the following approach:

1. Identifying a professor:

2. Preparing content for a series of e-mails:

3. Posting them at regular intervals:


1. Identifying a professor:
---------------------------


Go through the brochures or web sites of the universities you chose 
carefully. Identify a professor or two, whose backgrounds seem to 
match your interests. If you have a senior in that university ask 
her/him about the most accessible or well-funded professors in that 
department. After finalizing a list of professors, collect their postal 
address, e-mail IDs and URLs (if they have any).

Your task is now to send a series of mails to them as suggested 
below. You should plan to send at least four mails to each professor 
over a period of two months. 

Start sending mails about one month before you plan to send your 
application forms to the universities.


2
. Preparing the content for series of e-mails:
------------------------------------------------

You can use the following outline to design your mails:

  • The first mail should deal with a technical question that you 
    have about your project. It should interest the professor as 
    well (e.g. A question based on your final year project). Be as 
    frank as you can. Do not cook up any topic.
  • If you get a reply from the professor, do continue your 
    conversation as per the content of the mail and clarify all your 
    doubts. Remember that the point is to show the professor your 
    willingness, commitment and knowledge of the field. You should 
    impress her/him. Then, at an appropriate time, you can bring to 
    her/his notice that you are applying to the university and 
    request her/him to consider the application. (Refer to the third 
    template below).
  • If you do not get a reply, send a reminder mail after about 
    10 days dealing with the same question that you had asked in 
    the previous mail. In this case, it will be your second mail. 
    (Refer to the second template below).
  • The next mail is to bring to the notice of the professor that 
    you are applying to her/his university and your interest to do 
    research work under her/his guidance. Enquire about the 
    chances of admission and aid.
  • If you get a reply from the professor, do continue your 
    conversation as per the content of the mails.
  • If she/he is not in a position to provide admission or aid in 
    her/his department for any reason, you may request a 
    recommendation to any other professor / department.
  • The final mail should be a thank you mail. 

 

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