If you are MS aspirant, you need to take multiple strategies to get ahead and make yourself count. One of those excellent strategies is to write emails to the university professors directly to get their guidance during the application process. It will not only ease up the complexity in your application process, but it will also increase your chances of success in getting into the schools of your preference.
But truth of the matter is that not everyone will have the guts to write directly to the professors of foreign universities. The primary reason behind this is to feel inadequate in front of the higher rungs of the professors. Along with that there are other questions like – How to write to a professor? What kind of English should we use? If the professor responds to the first or second email, how should we proceed further? How to structure the email?
In the beginning
You need to know why it is imperative to email directly to an eminent professor for easing up your MS application process. One email from an interested and qualified student will please the professor and s/he may go ahead and help you with your admission as well. But you need to know how to write which we will discuss in a minute.
There is another concern which needs our attention. It is about you. If you are a MS aspirant and just coming out of college, you may be doubtful and may lack courage to write to the professors directly, but think about this. Suppose you do, what would you lose? If you think about the worst situation, it maybe so that you wouldn’t get any response from the professor!
Now think this if you wouldn’t email, there is no chance of getting any help from the professor. So, better you muster the courage and email a professor directly. You don’t need to write the full email in a go. Take small steps. And then within few days you can write the whole email and press the ‘send’ button.
Tips for writing a well-structured email to an eminent professor
First, the subject line
As you can imagine that every eminent professor receives hundreds of emails per day. They have work to do and their email timing is also limited. Thus, if your subject line is not catch and well titled then chances are your email will get deleted to the trash. Following are few tips to choose a proper subject line.
- Don’t ever write subject line as “Hi”, “Hello”, “Need attention”, “Regarding admission”. These titles are not enough for a professor to understand whether it’s important or not. Your job is to make the titles so well-written that the professor will be persuaded to open it.
- Think about twitter. How do you structure one idea into 140 characters?! To write the subject line, you need to structure the whole email in few words. The best option is to outline your email first. Once your outlining is done, you would have good idea about how to write the subject line.
- Good examples of subject line would be –
- “Spring 2016 Prospective Student: Need Guidance on Admission”
- “Fall 2017 Prospective Student: Info Required for Official Transcript”
- “Admission Quest: Info Needed for [insert particular field] in [insert name of the university]”
The value of good English
When you write an email to professors, you need to be very careful about the grammar, punctuations, construction of the sentences and how you write them. Remember, writing an email to a professor is not a casual talk with your friend. Thus, you cannot use SMS/ what’s app language like – ‘C u soon’ or ‘Hw r u?’ Avoid these by any terms; otherwise you would not get any response from the professors.
Professors in the foreign universities are academicians and they expect their prospective students to be good in English. If you don’t write good English, how would you expect that the professors will even respond or help you in admission process?! To hone your English writing skill, use a journal. Every day at the end of the day, construct your thoughts in your own language and write in your journal.
Read books in English voraciously. But these are the long term goals. To immediately affect your English, you need to use a template. Find out a template in the net and follow. If you are not confident about how you have written the email, ask any of your professors/guides/parents to guide you.
Research about the professor is mandatory
It is essential that you know most of the details about the professor. Your email should convey to the professor/s that you are well-informed about the area of research work the professor has done, his/her contribution to a particular field and articles/paper published in journals.
If you want to sound good, literally read one or two of his/her papers and mention that you have enjoyed reading the paper in [insert the name of the magazine/publication]. It will add value to your candidature and the professor will treat you as committed prospective student.
Structuring your email properly
Now the question remains how you will pose your query? Directly or indirectly? Writing email directly to the professor doesn’t mean you should ask him/her directly about what you would like to know. It is always better to give him/her some perspective. Give a brief introduction about you in the beginning, mention where you belong and if required mention your CGPA.
Then pose your question in a manner that shows that you are really committed and would like to receive any guidance from the professor. For doing that you need to do your research. Go through the website of the university, read everything you can, and read the research paper/s of the particular professor you are writing to. Mention in the email about his/her paper.
As for example you need to ask question like – “Are new students eligible for assistance on the funding?”/ “I would like to do MS in [insert the field] and would appreciate any guidance from you” etc.
The whole email comes down to the ending. You need to be very polite and gentle and end the email on a beautiful note. The best way often is to thank the professor for his/her time as they take out time to read your email from their very busy and hectic schedule.
If you don’t get any response after writing email to the professor for a week, write a follow-up email stating that you have previously emailed the professor about the MS application/ admission process. Be polite and write it well.
If you follow the above steps and be diligent in your effort, you would succeed to get a response from the professor. Once you get the response, write an email within 24 hours stating your appreciation or ask further questions. Take guidance from a senior professor if you feel.