Hello, I am beginning to apply for graduate schools. Normally I wouldn't have thought to email the professors I am interested in working with on research. However, I heard from a professor that when they were applying to graduate schools they were only accepted to those programs that they had directly contacted individual professors. So, now I am wondering if this is normal or acceptable to do? I don't want to come across bad to those professors, and I already tried emailing one of them, it didn't go as I expected. In the email I simply stated that I would be applying to that school and that I was interested in the research that professor was doing and asked if they were looking for new students to join the research in the 2012 fall semester and that I would be interested in hearing more about this professors current work. However, the response I got was that the professor said the process is intricate, requires approval from more than one member and that he would forward my email to the graduate chair who would be able to "answer more precise questions about our admission process.". He did state that he looks forward to reviewing my application... So I don't know if emailing him directly made me sound incompetent of the application process.. Or motivated.. Can anyone offer some advice?