Guys, I am receiving messages and email how to approach a professor for graduate research/teaching assistantships for MS and Ph.D. in universities of USA. I am putting a piece of suggestion in this blog post just to make my tips public and make it more accessible to all candidates. It is not a perfect suggestion but something, indeed good information, if you don’t have an idea about how to start writing an approaching email. Just check this piece of information. Hope, it would be helpful to you all.
Dr. (Last Name)
(Introduce who you are with your name, your degree [Eg: B. Sc. (Agriculture) from Tribhuvan University, Nepal] with your academic achievement, GRE and TOEFL score and your working experience if any, in 4-5 lines/sentences and close the first paragraph. Make it more formal and systematic. Give impression as you are professional and you are ready to take the opportunity. Don’t make email looks like you were just throwing an email just to check professors, which is not good.)
In the second paragraph, mention that you have interest in their research and tell why. Better to mention in which research you are interested in, the professor you are approaching in 5-6 sentences/lines. Mention about your research/publications, if any, if that matches with his research area. Give a link if it is available online. Copy and paste the link inside “[ ]” (this is what i prefer) and mention your research title in the body of email. If you are good enough to hide link inside the title of your paper, that would be best. That shows that you are smart too.
In third paragraph, mention you want to discuss more about it if they are interested in your achievement and interest and tell him you are willing to share unofficial documents, if they are interested. Never forget to share your CV or Resume. There is a big chance that professor will open your CV/Resume and skim through it if they open your email even though they do not reply. They are very busy people and does not respond unless they find you are a potential fit and an excellent (or good) fit. And finally, thank professors for their time and effort and for responding your email. And, don’t forget to mention that “I look forward hearing from you” or any line that says you are waiting for their email notification (whether yes or no).
[You can combine second and third paragraph to shorten your email. Always, be creative to reduce the length of email with more or at least, the same amount of information. Sometimes you have to cull out information to make email short and sweet. So, cull out if you think some information is less important.] Decrease “Ink to Information” ratio (by increasing information and reducing words), which is really helpful tips.
(Your Full Name
Don’t make your email longer than 10-15 lines/sentences. Make it short, everyone like to save their time. You all must be aware that time is a valuable asset, which you cannot get back. Professors are really concerned about saving times and don’t entertain long emails, especially, if it is from an unknown source.
Never forget: don’t show-up your words and vocabulary and don’t make sentences complex. That might be good for academic writing but not for an email or daily interactions. No one entertains that and they might neglect your email. No one wants to check the meaning of the word while reading a piece of email and they don’t have time to do so. So, their best choice, they might ignore your whole email.
[Post edited and revised: June 13, 2018.]