The application process can be a long one—and once your application and materials are in and you’re “done,” you might not think that you can take additional steps to improve your chances of getting accepted.
Of course, this is normal and totally acceptable—unless you want to get ahead of the game.
Much like the practice of writing “thank you” notes, contacting professors before being accepted to a university (or even before registering for their classes) is a lost art. And this lost art can mean the difference between getting noticed and accepted into a program or having your application glossed over with the masses.
Are you ready to go the extra mile? Here are three steps to contact your prospective professors while you’re in the application phase of getting into college.
1. Do your homework.
You might be wondering how you could already have homework when you’ve only just applied to college—well, luckily for you, it’s not that kind of homework.
Basically, we mean you should go into these conversations informed about who you’re talking to. The vast majority of universities list research, achievements, and other specialties of faculty on their website with contact information, but a general Google search of the professor’s name and current university can turn up important results as well.
The best way to start is to find your school of choice on one of your prospective universities’ sites and seek out professors in your desired field.
2. Be selective.
Bombarding professors in your prospective department with a slew of emails and questions isn’t the best way to start a relationship.
In fact, this item exists in conjunction with the “Do your homework” suggestion—research the faculty members you’d come into contact with at each of your potential universities and select the ones you think you would connect with the most.
You can often find a faculty selection in “About Us” pages connected to department sites. Choose two or three professors at each school to contact about their department and research opportunities—you may be able to narrow down your university candidates based on your interactions with your prospective teachers.
3. Show some enthusiasm!
Being enthusiastic isn’t mutually inclusive with that email bombardment mentioned above. It’s fun to talk to someone about something you’re both passionate about—and that fact doesn’t fall flat when the conversation is between a professor and a prospective student. Who knows—that one professor you have so much in common with may end up being your research advisor down the road.
By researching your prospective teachers and whittling down your email list to just a few professors you genuinely want to talk to, you can really bring that enthusiasm you have for your field to the table—and the professors you contact are sure to notice.