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Reserch oppertunities?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dilzmega, May 27, 2008.

  1. dilzmega

    dilzmega 2+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2008
    I just want to know how do you let a professor know that you are interested in the reserch they are doing and that you would like to take part in it. I just want to write them a letter of interest highlighting some of my abilities. Any sugestions would help even if you have a form letter or something you have used in the past. Thanks in advance.
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  3. gsquared

    gsquared 10+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    I wouldn't recommend writing a letter- professors are busy people, and they often have difficulty answering their email, much less reading and replying to a written letter. I would suggest going to office hours or meeting with the professor in person. Let them know exactly what you are interested in doing and why you feel like you/they would benefit from your involvement in the lab.

    Also, research is spelled the way I just spelled it. Good luck!
  4. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Read up on their research first, so that you will be able to have a good conversation. Try to meet with them in person, instead of using email. It tends to be more effective.

    If you do decide to email any of them, have someone with good spelling abilities proofread your letter before you send it off. You want to make as good of a first impression as possible.
  5. dilzmega

    dilzmega 2+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Thanks I usually proof read everything but post on SDN as I am usually playing poker at the same time I am reading. Read you loud and clear and a visit would prove to be more personal than a letter or an e-mail. Thanks again.
  6. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom Banned Physician 10+ Year Member

    It wouldnt hurt to have a resume or CV in hand when you went to visit the prof
  7. tardyturtle

    tardyturtle 2+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2008
    talk to a professor you trust and who knows you well and tell them you're interested in research, and ask them if they could tell you about some of the research going on in the department (including theirs).

    advantages to doing this are:
    • you get a broader overview of who is doing research and what they're doing
    • that professor can introduce/recommend having you as a research student to one of their colleagues, or
    • you can say "Dr. So-and-so said I might be interested in working in your lab"
    • If that prof knows you well, s/he will probably be able to tell you who you'll get along with well and what kind of work you'd be interested in.
    networking is a powerful tool.

    don't write a letter with your "qualifications"... it's kinda cheezy and they'll probably just toss it... Better is to either stop by or email to ask if you can set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of doing research with them.

    Based on the meetings you set up with various profs, you can decide which lab you'd like to work in based on the following (in the following order):
    • how well you think you'll get along with the professor, and how much you think they'll work to make it a positive learning experience for you (eg. do they explain things so that you can understand them, or do they just tell you to do stuff without explaining). first and foremost, you want a quality research experience.
    • your interest in the project. This one really isn't a must, but it helps. Find something you'll like. If you enjoyed organic chemistry, go with an organic chemist... if you liked biochemistry, go with a biochemist. you get the idea
    • how soon you can start. some professors are actively looking for students to start asap (eg. next semester), and others have a few students working with them at the moment, and they can't take on another student until one of their current students graduates. you'll want to start as soon as possible so that you can get as much experience as possible, but some labs might be worth waiting to get into. If that's the case, ask when they plan to have an opening and make a commitment (and have them commit as well)
    What it comes down to is making a personal impression. If that prof who you talked to goes to another prof and tells them that you're looking to do research and gives you a recommendation, that's gold. The meeting with them then seals the deal.

    As a side note, the prof. I'm currently doing research with ignored my initial email I sent him requesting to set up a meeting and discuss the possibility of doing research together. I'm not sure if he was just really busy and didn't have time for a meeting, or just wasn't looking for more students, or if he thought the email was cheesy. Anyway, I ended up having orgo with him the next semester, and I made it a point to ace the first exam (high score) and then nochalantly send him a follow-up email the day after exam grades were posted, saying that I was a student in his class and that I was interested in doing research. In response, he congradulated me on the high score, mentioned that he "vaguely" remembered recieving my email before, and promptly set up a meeting. Moral of the story: sometimes you have to get a prof's attention.

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