One of the key things to increase your chances of admission or funding such as TA, RA or GA is to email professors and getting in touch with them during admission process. Your challenge is to make sure you write a good email that shows your genuine interest and zeal to work for the professor with passion. Many students have questions like below
- How to email professor for getting admission ?
- How to write email to get funding or fellowship from professor ?
- What to email professor ? Contents of email ?
- Should I ask for funding or NOT in first email ?
- What if I get a reply, how should I proceed?
- What should the subject line be for email to professor ?
- What kind of English should I use ? Simple?
I will try to address some of these questions and these are tips to email professors, so that you get a response.
1. Subject line for Emailing professors for Graduate School Admission
Subject line is the most important piece of email. Most the emails are not even opened by professors; they just look at subject line and delete them. The main reason is, they get so much email from university, students, research, etc. If you put in subjects like ‘Hello’, ‘Hi’, ‘How are you?’ , ‘admission’, ‘scholarship’, etc. The chances are your email is not even read. They will just delete it. For more info, read this article: Importance of Subject Line for Admissions or Professors. Here are some sample subject lines to email professors for admission:
- Fall 2019 Prospective Student: Research Info needed
- Summer 2019 Student: Artificial Intelligence Research Question
- Spring 2020 prospective student: Need Admission Information
- Fall 2019 Student : Need info on Research prospects at UW-Madison
- Summer 2019 : Research Assistantships Info needed, URGENT !
The key word to mention in subject line is PROSPECTIVE STUDENT. The trick is, no professor would throw away any email if it has prospective student because, you are a potential student to the university and they will read it and reply or forward it right person if they do not know. Think about it, prospective students are the future customers for the School.
2. English, Grammar and Punctuations in the Email:
I have seen students write emails without using proper English, especially grammar and punctuations. If you do not write email without proper English, it clearly indicates your incompetency and lack of good writing skills. Professors do NOT want to even reply to these kind of emails. They are academicians, writing good English is mandatory to succeed. The expect someone applying to Graduate school to have proper writing skills and ability to articulate your ideas properly. So, be careful when you write email. Do not use chat language like ‘c u then, hw r u ?, life gud…’ . You have to write proper English with proper capitalizations, punctuations, and grammar. If you do not have these, you may not get positive response. In fact, in one of my first graduate classes, one of my professors told us that he will not respond to emails that do not have proper English and we may get negative points too. So, be careful!
3. Research Information of Professor in Email :
Your email should clearly demonstrate that you have a complete understanding about the professors research area and what he actually does in that area. The key thing to understand is, every professor specializes in particular research area and they have research grants only related to that particular research area. They can only consider you for funding, if you are interested in the research they specialize in. When you write an email to professor, you should mention about research and use some technical jargon related to his research area. You may only do that if you have read few research papers that they have written. So, if you can read few research papers of the professors and mention about them in the email, it clearly shows that you have done your homework and they will be interested in at least replying to you. You should try to write your technical interests and be able to tie to back to the research area of the professor. You can mention about your research papers or technical presentations. If you have none, just show your interest by doing some homework about topic. For instance, you may say, “ I am very interested to pursue research in Neural Networks and their impact on real time decisions.” You have to do your homework and write as much research info as you can.
4.How to Ask about Admission, Fellowships or Assistantships in Email :
Asking directly that I need admission or funding is a very bad idea. It does not show that you are interested. You have to frame your sentences properly indicating your interest in school and program. Honestly, do not try to just create a fake interest or impression by saying your school is good, blah, blah, blah. Be genuine and write sincerely what you know about the school and what kind of research is at school. Do some homework about school, read the department website and research area, program info. You have to indicate that you are interested in the school because you like so and so stuff and you would like to be part of it. For funding, you may ask like “I like to do research in this area, how is the funding situation for new students in this area ?”. “ Do new students get any assistantships in first semester ?”. By phrasing it this way, you are not being desperate. It is asking in general. Most of the times, professors say, once you arrive here, meet me and we can discuss funding information.
Check out the Sample Templates for Emailing Professors for funding or admission on how to exactly write and what to reply. Do you have any other tips ?