biogirl215

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May 1, 2007
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Hi all,

I have a bit of problem, though it's good one to have. I conducted professors who do work in [my area of interest] asking if I could work with them over the summer. Several have responded affirmatively, though I can't, for geographic reasons, work with them all. The problem is, they are all people who I will likely apply to work with when I apply to grad school next year, and I'm worried that "turning them down" now will cause them to reject me next year.

Advice?
 

PsyDr

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you mean "contacted", right?

that being the case

i would:

1) pick one and stick with it. do a great job. apply there for grad school. make it my #1 choice

2) write the others and tell them while i am VERY excited at their offer, i will have to decline their offer. i would explain that i applied several places and did not think i would get the response that i did. one site that was able to offer some things that i simply could not pass up. i would then express my enthusiasm for their work.

3) apologize and state that i hope my goals can meet with theirs sometime in the future.

4) pray the PIs don't recognize my name during the admission process


sorry, but you kinda opened yourself up to them thinking you are not reliable. may be something you can overcome with an essay, maybe not. it all depends on the person.
 

JockNerd

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Just pick the one you like the most and politely decline the others.

I'd say with 99% confidence that the ones you decline won't really care much. Their egos are not so fragile that they will fall to pieces that you will not be their summer RA. If they do you probably wouldn't want to be their grad student anyway.
 
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Ollie123

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Feb 19, 2007
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Agreed.

It also depends on how you worded the initial email. If it was an "I'd be interested in... do you have spots available" kind of email that's not exactly a commitment. Anyone who can't handle rejection won't last 6 months as a professor, so I doubt anyone will be crying themselves to sleep because a summer RA decided to work for what is likely a respected colleague instead.

Be polite, thank them for the opportunity, etc. Unless there have been multiple email exchanges with each of them, I'd be surprised if they even remember your name when applications roll around, let alone hold it against you.
 

biogirl215

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I approached them like this...

"Dr x.,
[name, statement of research background]

I was very excited to see you research [subject], as that dovetails well with [my research]. Thus, I was wondering if there was anyway I could work with you on your research this summer. I can provide references and a resume/CV if requested. Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely
[name]
"

Do you think that will prove problematic? You have me worried, PSYDR!
 

PsyDr

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it shouldn't worry you that much. when reading my posts, keep in mind i NEVER do therapy and am incredibly blunt.

all i am saying is that it probably knocks you down a notch in the PIs' books. it is not a red flag, but they might rate you slightly lower thinking you might decline an acceptance letter.
 

WannaBeDrMe

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it shouldn't worry you that much. when reading my posts, keep in mind i NEVER do therapy and am incredibly blunt.

all i am saying is that it probably knocks you down a notch in the PIs' books. it is not a red flag, but they might rate you slightly lower thinking you might decline an acceptance letter.

To put a softer touch on this, not that I don't respect the blunt approach as it's mine most of the time, biog-- you can't really change how they are going to feel about you. There are definitely some petty professors out there who might take offense... but there are some others who get so many similar emails that they won't even recognize your name when application season rolls back around.

Just go with your gut... or maybe see if you can split it up, do a 4 week rotation of sites. You wouldn't get very in depth but hey, free hands around a lab or a data analysis nightmare are free hands.
 
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