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Other Switching groups, how to email new prof?

  1. Jul 13, 2016 #1
    Suppose one was working for a Professor. Then you mutually decide that it's not a good fit. The professor has been helpful in terms of suggestions for other people to work with and you found another professor who has given you some reading material earlier.

    How do I email the new professor if I can officially work with them? This professor is under the impression that I am working with the old professor, and I am wondering if it's relevant to mention that I am no longer? I have been doing the reading, but only started to more rigorously once I officially left the old group.

    I feel like I am thinking through this too much, but I don't want to write an email that seems negative in any ways since nothing has been negative so far. I am more worried about wordings.

    Thanks so much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I would suggest sending an email to request a meeting time to discuss this or just set one up directly or via his secretary.

    We often try to do too much with email making it easier to get rejected and since this is important to you then you should do it right with a direct meeting. It will also give you a chance to read his/her reaction and to see what you can do get on his/her team.
  4. Jul 13, 2016 #3
    Thanks so much for the reply! Yes, you are completely right. This is important to do face to face other than via email. Should I email the prof about working officially with them? I don't know how else to bring up a meeting, otherwise.
  5. Jul 13, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Thats a good question, but it brings up the spectre of the prof saying no he has enough students already.

    Do you know any students in the group that you can talk to? Do you know what they are working on such that you can find a spot where you can augment the team with your skills?

    If this fails then do you know enough about the project where you have some questions on their research that you could use to ask for the meeting and then use during the meeting to feel out the prof and possibly find a place for you.

    As an example, you discover that they need to do a lot of computer simulation work but don't have the necessary programming skills to use the supercomputer but you do so you market yourself by saying it seems you have a need for this skill and I have this skill so I can help you...

    Basically, you're trying to convince the prof to take you on and so to strengthen your case you might need to find where your skills can help the team move forward. It's just like how you would go after a job you really want to do, you find a way in and convince the gatekeeper that you can do it and they will benefit from it.

    Its kind of like the idea behind Pres Kennedy's quote:
  6. Jul 13, 2016 #5
    Thank you again for the reply and advice! I am beginning to realize that my situation is slightly different and I wasn't clear on that because I was in nervous state when I made this thread.

    Actually, in our previous meeting I had mentioned that i was interested in working with him at the end of summer ( this was when I was supposed to finish with the other prof). That's why the prof gave me the reading material and he said to email him about any questions etc ( regarding the reading). I have to read+do calculations. The professor is aware of my skills and background too. He seemed very encouraging!

    I just don't know how to bring up if I can start earlier than planned. I have been doing the work/reading, but now ,just recently, I have been more rigorous about it since I am no longer working with the other prof. Technically, he could change his mind and say no, but here's to hoping he doesn't.
  7. Jul 13, 2016 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Well if youve been doing the reading and calcs use that as a pretext for the meeting and say how interested you are and then ask if its possible to start now.
  8. Jul 13, 2016 #7
    Working on it!

    I really hope I'm not the only one who spends a million hours writing an email for a prof. ( editing and everything).
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