Friday, February 9, 2007



Anonymous said...

Dear Blackskimmer,

I've read your posts on Craigslist and usually appreciate your contributions. I have a question for you, since you have gone down the grad school application route: how far in advance should one contact potential advisors at programs? early in the fall? the summer before? spring before? Thanks.

blackskimmer said...

wish i was wiser in this account. however i have some knowlege. first, i think it depends on the program. in some programs, it is best, even imperative to contact potential advisors before even applying, one reason to apply is that you find the right match. in fact in some programs this might be a requirement.

what subject area is this? if you have a specific research interest, then definitely hunt down advisors that will work for you. look for matches in research interest, methodology, and personality, and their reputation in getting their students in the direction YOU want to go.

one thing i learned was that match in subject area of interest was not as critical as match in personalities, methodologies. i wish i realized that sooner!

i suppose there are some phd programs where you have time to make the rounds of the labs and choose what you want to do and who you want to do it with. especially if its a big department. then it's not so critical.

nevertheless, having someone who you hit it off with before you start the application process will help the process go along smoothly.

i found my advisor by interest, thus chose the school from that and all through the process, was in communication with.. well actually i was getting advice from 2 other professors in other schools too. plus i was in frequent contact with my future advisor and 3 other people in the program.

hell, there's possibilities i suppose to even work with advisors before you get admitted, say if you live nearby and one of them needs some lab help for a semester.

hope these ideas help.

let me know what subject area you are hunting down.

good luck.