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Best way to ask professor for research position

  1. Oct 10, 2015 #1
    I am currently in the honors mathematics program at my school. I wanted to get a research position this summer with a professor. I have been reading some of the previous threads about people asking for the same type of advice that I am asking for. I just feel that my situation may be a bit different. I'm only taking second year and third year courses right now, so with any professor that I ask to let me help them with research, I won't know much about their research, nor would I have the background to have a fruitful conversation with them about their research. And it's not like I am going to be volunteering in a lab, where I can help out with other things, so I fail to see how I could really contribute.

    Any advice? I also imagine that the professor would ask me why they should pick me for this position (seeing as there are probably other students who will be asking them as well). I don't really have a great answer for that. I mean, I love mathematics. I feel compelled to do it. I really can't walk away from it, so I really want to do research. I work really hard and am reasonably talented....Would saying those things suffice for a good answer?
     
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  3. Oct 10, 2015 #2

    micromass

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    Just send an email to the people you're interested in and tell them you're interested in their research and want to contribute. They'll ask you for an appointment.

    Don't overthink this.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    I agree with Micromass, don't overthink this. But don't underthink it either Not knowing what a given professor is up to is not a permanent condition. Mot have web pages describing what they are doing, which is a good place to start Spend an hour per professor learning what they do.
     
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