How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

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hermitw
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:11 am

How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

Postby hermitw » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:08 am

Hi guys,

I have just went to Stanford to visit a professor who recently moved to Stanford from Mcgill (Canada). We had a nice discussion and he agreed to accept me (this is the way the Canadian Universities work). However, he is not in the admission committee. He said that he intended to look at the applications in the direction of quantum information if the committee allows, since he is the only one working on that.

My question is, how much can a non-committee professor helps us, especially in top programs like Stanford? I think a lot of us are spending great amount of time contacting professors. But is this really helpful, if the prof is not in the committee? Or it may be better to spend that time writing a better SOP? In my case, if the prof can help a lot, I may want only apply to less than 5 univs to save effort and give chance to fellow applicants. Thanks for your opinions!

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

Postby TakeruK » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:47 am

I think that while contacting profs in the US is not as much of an important part of the application process as in Canada, it is still very useful to do so. It helped me figure out which schools would be good fits and thus worth my time/energy/money applying in the first place. It also helped me get a sense of what some of the profs are interested in so that also helped me make my SOP better show my fit within the department.

Dwy
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:45 am

Re: How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

Postby Dwy » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:35 am

I guess it depends.

I've contacted 5 professors so far and received 2 neutral, 1 good and 2 great answers.

The neutral ones were like "I think your background is a great match for our research but I'm not on the committee so..."
The good one was like "Dude, having you would be awesome and I hope you pass but I can't do *** for you right now"
The great ones were like "I'm not on the committee but I'll got out of my way to tell them I'm interested in having you as a student"

I guess nothing bad came out of it, but 40% of the interactions are probably going to increase my chances.

So in the end, if you know a professor's research, is interested in working with them, then contacting can be really helpful towards your application. But unless the professor says so, you'll never know if they will try to help you get in by showing interest to the committee.

mhrazeghi58
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:28 pm

Re: How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

Postby mhrazeghi58 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:53 pm

Dwy wrote:I guess it depends.

I've contacted 5 professors so far and received 2 neutral, 1 good and 2 great answers.

The neutral ones were like "I think your background is a great match for our research but I'm not on the committee so..."
The good one was like "Dude, having you would be awesome and I hope you pass but I can't do *** for you right now"
The great ones were like "I'm not on the committee but I'll got out of my way to tell them I'm interested in having you as a student"

I guess nothing bad came out of it, but 40% of the interactions are probably going to increase my chances.

So in the end, if you know a professor's research, is interested in working with them, then contacting can be really helpful towards your application. But unless the professor says so, you'll never know if they will try to help you get in by showing interest to the committee.

So, comparing with your contact answers can I say this answer is similar to the kind 3?
"Thanks for the email. The way it works here is that you apply to the Physics department rather than directly to individual professors. So, please go ahead and apply. If/when you do, let me know, and I will take a long look at your application. Your CV is certainly strong, and I will argue that you should be admitted, but it's up to the university and the department." :?

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: How much can a non-committee professor helps us?

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:21 pm

TakeruK wrote:I think that while contacting profs in the US is not as much of an important part of the application process as in Canada, it is still very useful to do so. It helped me figure out which schools would be good fits and thus worth my time/energy/money applying in the first place. It also helped me get a sense of what some of the profs are interested in so that also helped me make my SOP better show my fit within the department.



Not only these things, but contacting professors provides a base of communication provided you do get accepted, and therefore expedites your research progress once you get in to grad school.




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