3 answers

How to propose to professor ready for research?

Asked Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Next semester I am transferring to a new school as a junior. After e-mailing two professors about an independent research class, one e-mailed back mentioning that while I have a lot of research experience, students in their first semester are not normally approved to do independent research and I should contact the other teacher about it. If the other teacher says similar, what would be a good response in hopes to persuade them? My first e-mail listed previous experience and what topics interest me for research and what skills I hope to gain. I thought it may be beneficial to provide the teacher's contact information that previous research was conducted under since she knows what I am capable of and has seen how hard I work. My first semester will also be an easier semester since I am taking two ecology classes (one with lab) that cover some of the same material (both prerequisites for diff. classes I hope to take), plus an Intro to Biology 2 class taken already covered many different ecology topics. Two other classes will be taken that have no lab component and are intro classes. Should I include the information that the semester would not be too demanding with other classes which would make it beneficial to include the research class? What other information should I include?

#ecology #conservation #college #research

3 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas

Ugh!

Are you transferring from a junior college? If so, the work is often more rigorous at a 4 yr school, and they may simply want to give you a chance to get acclimated before diving in. This may not be a bad idea. I don't see why he referred you to the other professor. That almost sounds like playing "go ask mommy/go ask daddy." What are you losing by delaying it another semester?


I don't know anything about the sciences. But I do know way too much about what happens when you cross someone and you later need them. This is not a position you want to be in. Trust me. So, please be super careful! While professors are supposed to be above all that, they are not. I had one who actually came right out and threatened to flunk me.


Have you considered actually visiting the campus and meeting with the professors? If you are wanting them to oversee your research, it would seem to me a face to face meeting is in order. They may get a stronger vibe from such a meeting that is missing in an e-mail!


Best of luck!

Kim

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Congratulations on doing research about research. You might be farther ahead and get faster results by making phone calls so that you can have a dialogue. Also, it might be a good idea to talk the head of alumni relations to arrange to talk to graduates of that school to learn more about the major that you are pursuing and about the research application process. We are becoming too dependent upon computer and internet communication which allows for only one way disjointed communication.


Also, getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities related to your fields of interest is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
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  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
Updated
Thank you for your insight and helpful resources!

Ray’s Answer

Updated California, California

Simple suggestions:


go to the professors' summer class office starting to talk to them.

Present your research ideas.

Or call their department office and speaking to the Chair.


Good Luck,