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Professors never replied to my emails

  1. Oct 8, 2008 #1
    I emailed a few professors in my physics department about opportunities for undergrad research in their labs. some of them never responded to my emails. But I am still interested in their researches, should I just go to their office and show up unannounced?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2008 #2
    At my local community college the instructors (many with Ph.D.'s) always return my eMails with 48 hours. At my local University I probably get a 50% return rate.

    I find that meeting them in person is the best way - it also makes you seem more pro-active.
  4. Oct 8, 2008 #3
    Maybe you should talk to your adviser. They are more likely to respond to his request than yours, especially if you have never been one of their students.
  5. Oct 8, 2008 #4
    I'd say that you should just go to their offices and ask them directly. Chances are that your email just got buried in their inboxes. If they didn't want you, they'd probably send you emails to that effect.

    Actually, I got into my advisor's research group in a similar way. When I got accepted to the graduate school where I currently attend, I wanted to start research the summer before my first year. So I found a group I was interested in, and emailed the professor. After a couple of days he didn't respond, so I emailed another professor in that group. He responded fairly promptly, and informed me that the first professor I emailed was interested in having me work for the group. To this day I'm not sure if my advisor got my email and forgot to respond, or lost my email and heard about me through the second email that I sent to the other professor. You'd think that professors would remember something as important as an email about taking on a new graduate student, but apparently not. So just because these professors haven't responded to you doesn't mean anything. Professors are absent-minded that way.
  6. Oct 8, 2008 #5
    I always just drop in and ask if they have a minute. If they don't, I come back later. Emails are a crapshoot.
  7. Oct 8, 2008 #6
    Make the subject of your e-mails: "Funding Approved"
    because profs cant resist reading an email that will give them research funds.
  8. Oct 9, 2008 #7


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    Haha, that's a good one.
  9. Oct 9, 2008 #8

    Andy Resnick

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    I can't guess at why your email was not acknowledged- there can be many reasons, ranging from 'the professor was too busy' to 'your email was poorly written'.

    In any event, first try to make an appointment via the department secretary, and if the secretary can't give you any information about the professor's availibility (i.e. when the professor is not teaching a class), then try just showing up.

    Another approach is to show up at the lab and talk to the students there.
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