Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
I was going to start writing emails to the advisers I am interested in working with for Fall 2016. I know the obvious structure/tips on writing this introduction emails and asking if they are accepting students.

HOWEVER. My undergraduate adviser and a few graduate students have told me to always keep these emails at 3 sentences or less, or the potential adviser won't even read them. Yet, when I looked up information on sending these emails, all of the examples/suggestions were more like 3 paragraphs.

Any feedback on this?
 

psycscientist

7+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2011
798
207
Status
Psychologist
I was going to start writing emails to the advisers I am interested in working with for Fall 2016. I know the obvious structure/tips on writing this introduction emails and asking if they are accepting students.

HOWEVER. My undergraduate adviser and a few graduate students have told me to always keep these emails at 3 sentences or less, or the potential adviser won't even read them. Yet, when I looked up information on sending these emails, all of the examples/suggestions were more like 3 paragraphs.

Any feedback on this?
Keep it short and sweet. They will get tons of these. Also check the program websites. If it already indicates whether your POI is taking students, an email asking will only serve to annoy.
 
OP
M
Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks for your input! Anyone else have thoughts? Would you state your undergrad research adviser, school, or research interests at all in the email?
 

psycscientist

7+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2011
798
207
Status
Psychologist
Thanks for your input! Anyone else have thoughts? Would you state your undergrad research adviser, school, or research interests at all in the email?
I wouldn't. Students tend to think that emailing will somehow get their name on a POI's radar, but given the amount of email they get of this nature, they're likely not going to remember who you are unless there is some personal connection (e.g., you work with someone who knows them well - in which case I would say get that person to send a note to them as well to look out for your application).
 
May 31, 2015
50
23
Status
Non-Student
Thanks for your input! Anyone else have thoughts? Would you state your undergrad research adviser, school, or research interests at all in the email?
I have emailed POIs before. I made sure to look around the department website first to see whether it was stated or not if they were taking on new students. Only if this information was absent would I message them. I kept it simple. I said I was an incoming applicant, VERY briefly matched my research experience to what they were currently doing, and then asked if they would be taking on students. In every instance I received a reply. I suggest doing it.
 
Mar 6, 2014
45
19
Status
Psychology Student
I emailed POIs last year, after checking to make sure it didn't say on the department or faculty page whether they were taken students or not. I had a couple email me back that they weren't, so I recommend it at the very least for that. I said I was looking to apply during the upcoming cycle, mentioned my school, had a line about my past research experience and another line about my interests, a line or two about what drew me to their research, any questions that I had, and then asked if they were taking students. I don't think you need to limit yourself to three sentences but definitely keep it simple.
 

MCParent

Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2012
1,593
1,410
Status
Psychologist
Would you state your undergrad research adviser, school, or research interests at all in the email?
As a faculty member--nope. If I know the advisor I'll be happy to read their letter when it comes, or read a supportive email from them. By and large I don't care what school someone went to, and I can tell by their @xyz.edu email anyway. Just mention your research interests align and that's fine; I'll read the SOP and other materials for that anyway.

I wouldn't. Students tend to think that emailing will somehow get their name on a POI's radar, but given the amount of email they get of this nature, they're likely not going to remember who you are unless there is some personal connection (e.g., you work with someone who knows them well - in which case I would say get that person to send a note to them as well to look out for your application).
Yup.
 

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
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Post Doc
This is such a small part (if at all) of the application process. Don't give it much thought. Keep your email short, polite, and not redundant to the program's website.
 
Jan 6, 2015
19
11
Status
Pre-Psychology
My e-mails this year were about 6 sentences. I've gotten a response back from probably 80% of POIs so far, and I think this year I have gotten better responses than I did last year.

My sentences are broken down similarly to this:
Interested in applying to your program for 2016. This is what I'm doing right now. This is what direction/research I'm interested in for graduate school.
Reviewed your bio/lab page/publications, are you taking students? (And, if there is no information on current research/projects in their lab I'll ask for a brief description of what type of work is currently ongoing).
 
OP
M
Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
I appreciate all of your advice! It sounds like the best situation is to simply find out if they are accepting a new student and to only include the necessary information that will incline them to respond (i.e. a match of research interests). I agree with the general consensus that this can probably be accomplished in 3 sentences.