美国教授对套磁的看法

    持续补充中,欢迎大家分享自己所得到的信息!

    一、普林斯顿教授对套磁的看法

    以下的文字是我一好朋友写的,分享了princeton的一些教授招学生的几个标准,这些信息都是她和教授闲谈中获取的。她去年刚去Princeton 读EE PhD,拿的fellowship。

    今天下课后围着老师问了几个学术问题再问完后还是没有听懂的情况下,我就开始问关于套磁的问题。

    首先要声明的是:如果你是清华北大的前1-2。那就不用套磁基本上所有学校都能中了。professor的原话是:you see a student from Tsinghua ranks 1 out of 200 students and the GPA is almost 94, that is just… awesome!

    然后就是关于你来自哪个学校很无奈的是, 美国教授基本上只听说过清华北大还有"交大"。 其实主要是上海交通大学和台湾国立交通大学。至少在普林斯顿是这样的。如果很不幸你不是其中的任何一所, 那么你在套磁的时候, 基本上会被当成"student from an ‘ambiguous’ university email me today…"不过据说,中国学生貌似不是发这种Email的常客。

    教授会回复的邮件,一般来讲,他们只会在心情好的时候回复这样的问题——do you have open for phd students in 20XX年。他们的回复一般也是: i am not sure, but hope you will apply…

    教授是绝对不会在邮件当中透露出他们对你的喜好"i don want to give them the wrong information"

    最后,最好的套磁手段是:visit them, or meet them on a conference, or good recommendation letters , especially from those they know about.

    二、欢迎套磁,欢迎Email联系我

    Those interested should email Dr. Li a cover letter stating qualifications, relevant experience and research interests, CV, and transcripts.

    三、唯一重要的只有真正的兴趣

    罗格斯大学教授:套辞是必须的,没有什么所谓的核心技术,你对这个研究的兴趣超越一切背景。

    上述观点,系某背景极弱学生在计划申美国PhD,近乎绝望的情况下,咨询自己罗格斯大学的一位教授(该同学亲戚)时,该教授对该同学说的一句话。

    该同学背景:本科gpa2.3,硕士gpa3.7(但是学分很少,课程也很少),gre311,toefl100,无文章。推荐信一个普通教授(本科毕设导师),经理(毕业实习经理),副教授(硕士专业课和我交往不错的一个老师)。2012年毕业,2013Fall找启德遭遇全拒,2014Fall DIY依靠套磁申到美国TOP50学校全奖PhD,生物技术专业。

    该同学自述:“在2013年11月,在我递交完第一波申请材料时候,我心情是很绝望的。连我自己都想不出一个理由让别人要我。我的ps里面充满了套话,空话,我如果是教授,除非这个人的背景很棒,否则我不会要他的。”

    四、套磁=垃圾信

    Dear Prospective Student,

    you should know that emails such as yours are much discouraged. At almost all universities, they reduce your chances of admission.

    You must understand that I get about 12 emails from prospective students EVERY DAY. That is over 4000 emails per year, which is highly annoying. This is far worse than all the other spam mail I get, trying to sell me credit cards, mortgages, water filters, long distance telephone service, and life insurance.

    It turns out that most of these students send the same email to multiple professors at the same university, telling each of them that "their research interest match". If you are sending this to more than one professor, it is obviously a lie. And a lie that is very easy to catch on our end. And if we catch someone not telling the truth, do you think we would admit him or her to our university?

    Also, you should never send email to a professor until you have already applied and paid the admission fee. Sending email to anyone before that point is offensive - the university might get the idea that you are trying to avoid the fee.

    Please tell all your friends that they should NOT send email to professors unless they have found the ONE to maximum of THREE professor in the whole U.S. who is the absolutely best fit - and then send email only to that one two or three professors. It is a nonsense sending these emails, and a myth that they increase your chances of admission. In reality, they REDUCE your chances of admission at many universities.

    At all good universities, admission is done by a committee. The committee collects information, among this is a list of all the students that individual professors have been communicating with. There is no individual professor who can admit or reject a student - but if the same student appears on the list of many professors, that is a good indication for rejection.

    You should stop ruining your career, if it isn't already too late.

    Sincerely,

    Prof. Dr. Michael

    总结:

    1)教授平均每天收到12封套磁信,一年4000多封,这比垃圾邮件还垃圾,烦!

    2)不要漫无目的乱套,确定好1-3个教授套就可以

    3)同一个系甚至同一所学校坚决只能套一个教授,多套露馅就是等于rejection

    4)交了申请费再套

    五、套磁可能会有代价

    Don't send me an email with your resume saying you are applying to XXXX and would like to work with me.

    I used to try to respond to these, until I realized the volume of messages and the amount of time I was spending responding - time that would otherwise be spent working with my current students. In fairness to the students who are already here, I now ignore these messages. Any information I would get from the email should be contained in your application, which I will see as part of the admissions process.

    If you do send an email, at best it will be ignored. At worst it will make me question your fitness for graduate study. 【转自中科大瀚海星云BBS

    六、不看邮件不意味着不注意你

    Prospective interns, graduate students, post-docs and visitors for Jeff Fessler's research group,

    Thank you for your interest in my imaging research at the University of Michigan. I have been in the EECS Department here since 1995, and over these many years I have been enjoying the privilege of working with many creative and bright graduate students from all around the world. You can see the dissertations and current positions of all of these students here. I have also mentored several terrific postdoctoral fellows; you can see their current positions here.

    To get a feeling about what are the current projects in my group, look at our in-press papers and recent conference papers. Reading the "future work" section of any recent paper or thesis on my web page is a reasonable way to see possible future directions. However, every member of my group is unique and I work with each person to find a project that suits their interests.

    Every year I get numerous emails with the question "will there be any openings in [my] lab next year?"
    My web page shows that I have graduated at least one PhD student every year since 2003, often 2 or 3 students per year. So it is logical to think that I must recruit one or more new PhD students every year! Naturally I prefer to work with students who think logically.

    If you email me to express interest in joining my group, please include one of the following keys in the subject line: [fessler-intern] or [fessler-phd] or [fessler-postdoc] or [fessler-visitor] as appropriate to your situation. Also include your name in the subject line.

    Instead of attaching a resume to your email, the best way to promote yourself is to make a web page that describes yourself and highlights your skills, and then include the URL for that web page in the email. If you email me this URL and use the appropriate subject line, then I will look at your web page and I will try to reply to your email. If you are a PhD applicant, then I will certainly consider you for financial aid decisions that are made in the Spring.

    If you are a prospective post-doc or visitor, then please also create a Google scholar entry for yourself. It is helpful for prospective mentors/employers.

    I will ignore any emails sent to me that disregard the above requests, because I guess such students have not read this page and might be sending mass emails rather than really trying to find an adviser whose interests match theirs! I do not read resumes sent to me in Microsoft formats. Here are many reasons why not.

    For the most part, I focus my time on my current students. In particular, I cannot answer the question "what are my chances of admission." Your chances will be improved by applying!

    Please understand that after you are in a graduate program, you will be glad if your adviser spends his or her time working with you instead of responding to numerous emails from prospective students. I hope you understand.

    Advice:

    【作者:Jeffrey A. Fessler,密歇根大学EECS系教授;原文链接:Advice for prospective interns, graduate students

    七、诺贝尔得主教我写套磁信

    昨日斗胆向本行一大牛人、诺贝尔奖获得者发了封套磁申请博后。未料当晚他即回信,回复很短,亦是套辞。但附言却长,竟是教我如何写套磁的!

    回信原文如下:

    Dear Mr. Xxxx

    Thank you for your letter. Regretfully, I do not have a postdoctoral position available in my group. I wish you well in finding one elsewhere.

    Sincerely yours

    Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx

    PS. May I give you a piece of advice on applications for post docpositions?

    This is a nontrivial process, and to be effective does not consist of just putting your qualifications in front of a person.Such applications must be sent with out some "personalization", meaning somestatement, just a few lines, as to why you want to work with a certain person, revealing some knowledge of their research.

    Also statements suchas “I am very interested in your work.”, or “Your excellent work has attracted my attention,” are recognizable as having no content, but just being polite phrases. Applications which do not contain such a specific approach are likely to be automatically rejected by almost everyone in the US, because it looks like you are just sending a form letter to everyone, with no special interest in a given group.

    People have many, many postdoc applicants -- they want to see that a person really wants to work with them, and a reason why. It takes work to do this, I know.

    评论:美国人就是特别重视Motivation, 你自己牛不牛倒在其次

    八、美国教授关于几种套磁信的评论

    International applicants seeking assistantship/admission: please do not send me emails blindly without reading this.

    Every day I receive emails from international candidates for information, for advice, and especially requesting financial assistance. Unfortunately, I delete most of them without even reading them carefully. I get so many irrelevant emails that cannot reply to each. Extremely rarely has one caught my attention. Please do not send me emails without reading this first. I am only interested in corresponding to candidates who are exceptional, and have a strong interest and experience in my immediate area of specialization, and I highly prefer ones with a Master's degree.

    For your benefit, I have included in this page, some writing tips, when corresponding to me, and perhaps also in writing to other faculty members in US Universities. When corresponding, do not mention your age/date of birth, your gender, nationality etc. These are superfluous information.

    I am NOT interested in: Extra-curricular activities, performance in high school or before, TOEFL scores, hobbies, software skills, UNIX/ORACLE/NOVELL certification and other items unrelated to my research area*.

    I am SOMEWHAT interested in: Your awards/academic honors, academic records, GPA, GRE score (2200+), experience.

    I am HIGHLY interested in: Your publications, research interests (have supporting evidence for your claim, don't just claim you are interested, unless you actually have done some work in the area).

    *(Incidentally, I do not know what NOVELL or Microsoft certification are. Research is more concerned with things like advanced mathematical skills, creativity etc. Too much software skill actually may even count negative in my group).

    Information I CANNOT provide

    1. Chances of getting assistantship in the department (other than my own available research grants - I do not have any right now, although not very likely, it may change in future).

    2. Deadlines for assistantship/admission.

    3. Any information on admission procedures and policies.

    4. Minimum GRE/TOEFL scores required.

    5. How to get application forms.

    6. Whether a decision for assistantship or admission was made.

    7. Other faculty who would be interested in a prospective student's

    background (you can easily see faculty research interests from the

    department website).

    8. When an admission/assistantship decision will be made.

    9. Any other information, other than that below,

    The only information I CAN provide

    1. Compatibility of your interests/background with my own research area.

    2. Possibility of getting research support from my own (not departmental) funds. I am always trying to get external funding for my research projects.

    3. Possible research areas you could work on with your background, with me.

    I know how interested some students are in coming to the USA for a higher degree. I have written this as a useful guide for you. I have also written this to let prospective international students try and focus their own efforts properly, instead of wasting their energy sending me emails. Here are two sample letters.

    负面套磁信

    • Unwanted email

    A sample letter that will never get the candidate an assistantship with me:

    Respected sir,

    I am very interested in going to the US for higher studies. I am seeking admission and financial assistance in your esteemed University. I am very interested in artificial intelligence and computer architecture. I have programming experience in C++, C and Java. I am also familiar with several software packages in the Windows environment (MS Word, Excel Spreadsheet etc.). I also have networking certification from NOVELL. My GRE score is 2050, and I got 99 percentile in the TOEFL exam.

    I request you to spare a few moments from your precious time to go through my attached resume.

    Sir - if you are kind enough to offer me assistantship, I promise to work very hard for you. I have a very good academic record since primary school.

    Alternately, can you tell me what are my chances of getting assistantship from your department?

    Can you kindly inform me about the last dates for Summer term 2002 before which I can apply?

    Thank you for your valuable time,

    Yours obediently

    ABC

    My comments:

    I simply delete these emails, which I consider garbage. The person seems to be too obsequious and flattering. In the emails that I do read (occasionally), I do a first scan for keywords like "precious", "respected" etc. deleting the email if I find one. Obviously the person is not professional enough. The person is interested in artificial intelligence and computer architecture - these are quite unrelated areas, making me think that he is trying to cover as many professors as possible to get aid from any possible source. Besides, he does not have anything in support of his claim (about his interest in artificial intelligence). He

    emphasizes on his software skills, making me think that his goal is to get a programming job in the US and higher studies is only to allow him access to the US job market. His GRE scores are OK, but not exceptional. He asks me to tell him what his chances of getting an assistantship are, elsewhere in the department. I have absolutely no way of finding that out, and even if I knew, I would not bother to reply back. He also asks me to give him information about summer deadlines. How am I supposed to know that? (I would typically expect that this information should be available from the University web site, or from the grad school, but my guess is as good as yours.) Finally, this letter is too generic. He probably uses exactly the same format for hundreds of email letters to various professors throughout the country, leaving no stone uncovered. I receive hundreds of email like this. Regretfully, I cannot answer everyone, and these applications do not interest me at all.

    I have even received emails from students asking me to evaluate their chances of getting admission, based on their GRE scores, TOEFL scores and GPA. Here is an example:

    二、Highly undesirable email

    Respected Sir,

    I am applying to a few US Universities for higher studies, including your esteemed University.

    I am a fourth year electronics engineering student at XYZ University, India. My undergraduate GPA is 3.2/4.0. I obtained 2000 in my GRE examination (V: 500, Q: 800, A: 700), and 456 in the TOEFL.

    Can you spare some valuable time to assist me in determining what my chances are for assistantship in your department and in other Universities?

    I will appreciate any help from you.

    Sincerely,

    PQR

    My comments: This letter is at least as bad as the previous one. It too looks excessively obsequious and unprofessional with words like 'respected' and 'esteemed'. I will not respond to queries like this, even if I could possibly "detemine their chances". As I mentioned earlier, my mailbox gets flooded with these queries such as this each week, and I have no time to respond. But more significantly, I do not have the slightest way of knowing this, not even in KSU EECE department, leave aside other Universities. You are much better positioned to do that, based on your own peers' experiences. Take an example, how much information can you, as a student, give me about the criterion for promotion from associate professor to full professor in your University? Likewise, I have no idea what policies graduate schools in the US follow to admit/denying admission to prospective students. I barely know the format of the GRE exam, leave aside TOEFL. I do not have the slightest idea how to distinguish between a 'good' TOEFL score and a 'bad' one. Besides, I know that most Indian Universities do not follow a GPA system. His "GPA" is most likely inaccurate, obtained by applying some arbitrary conversion formula devised largely to scale up the

    overall percentage score. Use GPA to fill in the official admission form, if you please, since there is no space for marks, but do not give that information to me unless your University actually follows a 4 point GPA system. (Unfortunately, I cannot distinguish a good percentage score from an average one either.)

    I have even received letters with personal items unrelated to the profession - something which I consider to be highly negative (examples - "I looked at your family pictures in your homepage", or "I am from the same part of the country as you are" etc.).

    正面套磁信

    一、Excellent email

    Now, here is a letter that would DEFINITELY attract my attention:

    Dear Prof. Das,

    I am applying to KSU (amongst other places) for a Ph.D., and I am very interested in your research areas. I would like to explore the possibility of doing my research with you, with financial support.

    One possible area that would interest me a lot is in applying Tikhonov regularization to your problem in computational neuroscience, since I understand that neural data can be very noisy, and yet sparse. Alternately,

    I am also interested in applying evolutionary algorithms to your genetic neural network parameter estimation. One of my other interests in in parallel processing. Are you considering parallel implementations for any of your optimization/estimation algorithms? Considering that the projects that you list in your web site would probably be very computationally intensive, that may be a worthwhile strategy to pursue.

    I presented a paper entitled "Hybrid Gradient Descent Based Training of Probabilistic Recurrent Networks" in the International Conference on Neural Networks and Image Processing, Bangalore, last year. It is a reviewed publication. If have attached a copy of the article in pdf format.

    If you have available funds, and are interested in my application please let me know soon.

    XYZ

    My comments: This is a straightforward letter from someone with a genuine interest in my area. He is an exceptional candidate. He has evinced a keen desire to learn, and already has considerable mastery over my area of research. If I have any funding available, I would definitely try my very BEST to get this person. This person may have an MS degree, while many applicants have only a BS degree.

    二、 Good email

    Here is a letter from a fresh undergraduate that looks very good:

    Dear Dr. Das,

    I recently applied the Ph.D. program in your department at KSU. I looked at your home page, and your research areas were very interesting to me. I also read your research article that appeared recently in the journal "Signal Processing & Data Mining (note: this is a hypothetical journal)". I am very interested in your idea of applying independent component analysis to data mining. My own undergraduate project was in a closely related area and should be of interest to you. It was entitled "Applications of LVQ algorithms to speech recognition". Furthermore, I recently joined XYZ labs in Mumbai, (India) as an assistant scientist, and I my work is in designing neural network algorithms for knowledge discovery applications.

    My GRE score was 2270, and I also took the GRE engineering subject test with a score of 96 percentile. I stood first in the the University in my batch (245 students).

    Please consider me for any financial assistantship that you may have. I have attached a 5 page postscript format curriculum vitae.

    Sincerely,

    ABC

    My comments: I would try to get some funding for this candidate, although I strongly prefer students with an M.S. degree. I recommend that fresh BS students who wish to apply, do the following: Decide on what area you are really interested in. Be very specific about what you want. Then first spend a few months researching material in that area. Look at conference and journal papers. If you do not have access to a decent library, then surf the web, and read as much on the subject as possible. Even try and present a paper at a national conference, perhaps with a University professor there. When you are finally ready, start getting information about faculty interested in that area and write to them only. This is the only way you ever stand a chance for a research assistantship. I think it is very unlikely that a professor in the USA would take you blindly based on your GRE scores, your undergraduate record and a few letters of recommendation.

    If you are not willing to do this, then focus on a teaching assistantship only. For teaching assistantships, you should not even be sending emails to various professors, but only to the department chair/graduate coordinator/graduate advisor. Individual faculty members have no control whatsoever in deciding how teaching assistantships are going to be awarded.

    For these positions, your undergraduate performance, GRE scores, etc. count a lot.

    三、Another excellent email

    Here is a letter from someone from a country where English is not spoken:

    Dear Dr. Das,

    I studied at a famous University in Beijing, PRC in Electronics Engineering in 2001. I intention is to travel to US for aPh.D. I find your area very interesting such as neural networks and genetic algorithm. I published a paper in fuzzy logic after research in my university. This paper is in Chinese. But I submitted another English paper for a conference last month.

    It is application of neurofuzzy system to 3 joint robot arm control. My GRE score is 2100, (Quantitative 800, Analytical 800, Verbal 500). I am very interested in Kansas State University. Do you have assistantshipavailable in next semester to teach a Ph.D. student in neural network application to pattern recognition or sensor fusion? Please see my resume if I am suitable for you.

    Thank you,

    JKL

    My comments: This letter looks exceptional. I receive many letters from candidates from Asian countries where English is not emphasized. That is no consideration from my point of view, as long as you qualify for grad school. A lack of English should not discourage someone from applying. Students from several countries with bare English capabilities have known to be highly successful in the US because they are so hard working and sincere that they more than

    compensate for this minor disadvantage. I will only care about things such as your mathematical skills, and research record. This person's GRE analytical and quantitative scores are excellent. But most important is the fact that he has two publications, even if one is in Chinese. I will give credit to this student for writing a paper in English, even if he is not fully comfortable in that language. It shows how dedicated the person is. I certainly would like to have this person in my research team.

    I have heard that there are agencies which send out emails for you to various professors in the USA. In fact I and my colleagues have received exactly the same generic email several times, with only the names changed. Such an email can only have a NEGATIVE impact on your chances. That is a total waste of money and a very bad idea.

    Finally, don't be discouraged if you cannot make it to the USA. With economies in India and China skyrocketing, I expect in about a decade, the job prospects in these countries could even be better than in the USA. Even today, I am pleasantly surprised to see engineers, software personnel,doctors, scientists and managers in India enjoying more or less the same lifestyle that one does in the USA (and probably better off than their counterparts in some other countries like Britain). I am sure the standard of living in some other Asian countries, such as China is excellent too.

    One last word.

    If, and only if you get my attention (which is extremely rare), I will keep in touch with you, push hard to increase your interest, try my best and do EVERYTHING possible to get you. Currently I do not have much funding available (or have not updated this page), but I hope that will change soon.

    注:中文小标题系小编所加,忽略这些小标题即为纯正原文

    九、对中介模板套的看法

    I have heard that there are agencies which send out emails for you to various professors in the USA. In fact I and my colleagues have received exactly the same generic email several times, with only the names changed. Such an email can only have a NEGATIVE impact on your chances. That is a total waste of money and a very bad idea.

    十、最重要的是真正的兴趣

    I wish you the best luck however.

    If I may, perhaps I can suggest that you include in your e-mails to other professors a brief description of your interests. Very many Chinese students contact US professors wishing to be admitted to graduate programs. Very often it is clear that they are willing to be admitted to any program to study any subject.

    What US professors are looking for is someone who has a true interest in a particular topic. When they see non-specific e-mails they think the student is just fishing and they do not consider them very seriously.

    The most effective letter will show that you have looked at the professor's own web site or have learned about them on their department web site and are familiar with their work.

    This is the reason you contact one professor rather than other professors. It is particularly good if you have read some of the professors articles and can mention which one has interested you in their work.

    The letter will also state what topic the student would like to study and what relevant experience they have. Many applicants from US colleges have a year or more of experience as a research assistant to a faculty member.

    This is how they develop specific interests and learn whom to contact about graduate school. I know this is not common for Chinese students but it is useful for you to understand. Most important, avoid saying "If you do not take students can you tell me who else in your department might accept me." You need to be looking for specific people or topics, not just psychology in general.

    Certainly do not send the same letter to everyone on the faculty in the same department. When they meet to consider students this will be noticed.

    Good luck in your search.

    十一、UVA CS教授钦定套磁模板

    Advice for Prospective Research Students

    Like most professors, I get several hundred emails a year from prospective students interested in coming to UVa for graduate school and joining my research group. I try to reply to all messages that are not obviously spam, but find most messages I receive make me less likely to want to accept the students sending them. This page provides some advice for prospective grad school applicants considering emailing me, but most of it probably applies to any other professor you want to contact also.

    Who To Contact

    Its a really bad idea to send spam emails to long lists of professors. These emails will never help you, and some professors will maintain blacklists of applicants who do this to make sure their application is rejected without consideration.

    Your goal in sending email is not to contact as many professors as you can, but to identify a few professors who you might want as your research advisor and then to find which of those seem most promising as advisors and convince them that you would be a worthwhile student.

    You should only contact professors with whom you have a genuine interest in working based on knowing something about them and what they do. You can find out about professors' research by looking at their web pages (professors who don't have web pages about their research are either not interested in recruiting students, not doing any research, or so famous they probably have someone to filter their email for them).

    Do Your Homework

    Before contacting a potential advisor, do your homework: read the advisor's home page and at least one recent paper.

    If doing this doesn't give you any interesting ideas, this is probably not someone with whom you want to do research so you shouldn't waste time contacting her or him. If it does, send a short introductory email.

    First Email

    A typical message should go something like this:

    From: Flipper Wordsfish
    Subject: Student Interested in TSU Problem

    Make sure your from address and subject lines are useful

    Dear Professor Nemo,

    Greeting: its safest to be a bit formal here.

    I will be finishing a BS degree in Underwater Mathematics at the Atlantis Deep Ocean University this year. I am considering applying to UVa's PhD program and would be interested joining your Octople Cryptology research group.

    Briefly introduce yourself in at most two sentences. Don't tell your whole life story. Be direct and clear about applying to grad school.

    I found your paper, "A Linear-Time Solution to the Travelling Sea Urchin Problem", on your website (URL). I was fascinated by your result, especially as I have spent several summers studying the similar travelling sea cucumber problem as an intern at Microshifty Corp in the Attle Sea. You can find a paper about my work on this at (URL).

    Explain specifically what you read and where you found it (people sometimes publish several papers with similar names and forget which is which). A touch of flattery never hurts, but don't go overboard. If appropriate, relate it to your background and interests and briefly plug your work.

    I believe your result is even more important than your paper implies, since it can be extended to solve the Travelling Salescritter Problem and thus to prove P = NP.

    Concisely describe your insight or why you are interested in the work.

    Do you think it would be worthwhile to pursue this line of research? If you are interested, I can send you a proof sketch.

    End with a clear, simple question.
    Offer a suggestion on how to proceed.

    Regards,
    Flipper Wordsfish (flipper@adou.edu)

    Closing — make sure to include your name and email address.

    Of course, your insight isn't likely to be so significant as Flipper's. But, you should make an effort to raise an interesting question about the work described in the paper, to suggest extensions or applications of the work, or to relate it directly to something you have done.

    It is definitely worth taking time to write clearly and consisely using correct spelling and grammar. As with all emails, the message should be broken into short paragraphs, the sentences should be simple and straightforward.

    What Not To Do

    Never do any of these:

    Don't send information about your GRE scores, GPA, class rank, cholesterol levels, favorite movies, etc. and ask what your chances of admission are. Standardized tests and grades have minimal influence on your chances of admission and reveal very little about your potential as a researcher. No one can or should tell you anything about your chances of admission based on an email (other than that you are more likely to be rejected now since you sent an annoying email).

    Don't send a first email longer than a typical screenful. You should be able to get across everything you need in a first email concisely and use longer emails if technical depth is required in follow ups.

    Don't waste space and time telling me how hard-working, creative and smart you are — demonstrate it with the contents of your message.

    Don't waste space and time telling me how brilliant I am. The fact that you are interested in joining my research group is flattery enough.

    Don't make generic statements about being interested in my work or how well it relates to your interests. Most professors have projects in several different areas and can't figure out what you mean unless you describe a specific connection or interest.

    Don't attach anything to your email. If you want to provide additional content, you should do this by sending a URL (as plain text, not a link). If you are not able to create a web page, you probably shouldn't be applying to CS graduate programs.

    Don't use HTML encoded email or non-standard character sets.

    If you are a non-native English speaker, make sure your "From:" address appears using the English alphabet. If you have a name that is difficult for English speakers to pronounce or distinguish, it is to your advantage to use a name that English speakers can pronounce and remember. I do realize it is very unfair for us to expect you to change your name for our convenience and cultural ignorance! But, once you get admitted you can and should tell people what you want them to call you.

    Note that for your formal application it is necessary to use your legal name, so if you use another name in your email communications with faculty, it is important to also provide the name you use in your application so they can identify the corresponding application. This is probably not necessary in a first email, but is a good opportunity to refresh the relationship after you send in your application by informing your contact to the formal name used in your application.

    Don't use any fancy formatting in your email (including your message signature).

    Follow Up

    Since most professors get lots of email, there is some chance that even if you do everything right, your message will get lost in my inbox and you won't get a reply. If you don't get a reply after about a week, send a follow up email that politely asks if the message was received and includes the previous message. If you still don't get a response, that's a pretty good sign that the potential professor you are contacting either has an overly-agressive spam filter, or is not someone you want as your advisor.

    Conclusion

    Getting into a good PhD program is extremely competitive and professors are strongly motivated to identify and attract the best possible research students to their group. At any department you would want to go to (including UVa), the acceptance rate is usually in the single digit percentages. At the most competitive departments, only a few slots every year are awarded to students without recommendation letters from people the faculty know well.

    It takes work to find the right PhD program and advisor, but contacting potential advisors directly is your best way to find a research group that matches your interests and goals well and possibly to improve your chances of being admitted.

    Once you've read and followed these directions, please feel free to contact me about coming to UVa to do a PhD in Computer Science. Your goal is to start an interesting email conversation about research ideas.

    If you find that my research does not fit well with your interests, feel free to post comments below for general advice.

    【作者:David Evans,弗吉尼亚大学计算机科学系教授;原文链接:Advice for Prospective Research Students

    十二、UCSC教授谈套磁

    Advice for Foreign Students Wishing to Pursue Graduate Study in Computer Science at UCSC

    I frequently receive email from non-US citizens who wish to pursue graduate study in Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Instead of replying individually to these messages, I have created this page to collect my personal advice on this matter. These are my own personal views, and certainly should not be viewed as official policy of UC Santa Cruz. That said, I have tried to be as accurate as possible.

    My goal in writing this is to help you, the foreign graduate student applicant, better understand the process of applying to graduate school at UCSC, and to be able to provide the best possible representation of your capabilities. The Department of Computer Science is actively interested in enrolling foreign graduate students, since they bring unique skills, and diverse viewpoints to our program. We derive considerable strength from the many active foreign graduate students currently studying and performing research at UCSC.

    Some Facts of Life

    It's helpful to have some background on the financial implications of a foreign student being admitted to UCSC.

    Since UC Santa Cruz is supported by the State of California, students who are California residents have significantly lower tuition and fees than non-residents. Students who are US citizens can become California residents after a year. Foreign students who do not hold a US green card cannot become California residents. It is very difficult to get a US green card.

    The net result is that foreign graduate students cost about 1.5 to 2 times as much as California resident students. From a Professor's perspective, this means that nearly two California resident students can be supported for the same cost as a foreign student. Supporting a foreign graduate student for an entire 4-6 year PhD program requires raising approximately USD $120k-$220k in grant money, depending on many factors, including whether the student receives summer support (increase), how quickly they advance to candidacy (decrease), and whether they already have a Master's degree (increase), and how quickly they finish. Admitting a graduate student is a significant financial commitment.

    English Expression and Students who are Non-Native English Speakers

    One common issue with foreign students is English is not their native language. As a consequence, they frequently are not as skilled at expressing complex technical ideas in Engligh, in both written and verbal form. This is a very complex activity even for native English speakers, and is doubly so for people whose native language is not English. Research in Computer Science involves investigation into complex technical issues, and then writing up these results in the form of workshop, conference, and journal papers. Writing a dissertation (typically 5,000 - 60,000 words) is a requirement for receiving the PhD degree. Writing articles and giving presentations at technical conferences are critical elements in developing a reputation in a research community. Written and verbal communication are central activities in Computer Science research. If you don't like to write and give presentations in front of groups, you should think seriously about whether you want to go into research.

    From a research advisor's perspective, having non-native speakers as students frequently means that any written document by such students requires an additional 1-2 reviews just to get the English expression correct. Even after putting this additional effort into the document, it is generally of lower quality than a document produced by a native speaker. This is due to issues such as less interesting choice of words, less varied sentence structure, and poor control over the rhetorical structure of the paper. Finally, most professors do not enjoy acting as a copyeditor; they would prefer to focus on core research ideas, rather than English expression.

    Who Makes Admission Decisions for Graduate Students?

    In the Department of Computer Science, all admissions materials are digitally scanned, and made accessible via a Web-based system that allows the faculty in Computer Science (as well as Computer Engineering, Bioinformatics, and Electrical Engineering) to see and review all files. Each file is reviewed by multiple faculty members. Generally students are admitted when they are either visibly outstanding and exceptional students, or when an individual faculty member makes a personal commitment to accepting the student, and providing financial support. Administrative staff typically have a advisory role in admissions decisions, usually by informing faculty that there is a student who might be a good fit for their program.

    The most important point is individual faculty make graduate admissions decisions.

    Some Advice

    Since foreign graduate students cost twice as much, and frequently produce research papers of lower quality than native students, it is critical that applications for graduate study address these two issues. From a research advisor's perspective, a foreign student needs to be outstanding and exceptional to justify the extra financial and time cost (all those extra paper reviews take time) of admitting a foreign student.

    There are several things you can do to improve your chances of gaining admission. Contacting a faculty member is critical, since they make decisions on who is admitted. However, when contacting a faculty member, there are several key points to remember:

    1. English expression must be perfect. Consider the following excerpt from an email I received from a prospective student:

    I did my undergraduate studies at {XXX} University, one of China's the most famous universities with a history 100 years, and kept on ranking in the upper 10 percent among 92 students in the department.

    Just in this one sentence there are at least four grammar and expression errors. This clearly says to me that the student does not have a firm command of English expression, and their papers will definitely need multiple reviews. As a Professor I want to bring in students who will make less work for me, not more.

    2. Show a clear and sincere interest in the faculty's research area. Faculty have very specialized research interests, and are looking for students with demonstrated capacity to perform excellent research in their specialty. If you approach a faculty member and say that you want to perform research in an area outside their specialty, they will show little interest. Additionally, faculty often indicate research interests that are very broad. I personally state that I have a research interest in "Software Engineering." However, this is a very broad field. My more specific interest is in software evolution and software bug prediction. Hence, if you send me email stating you're interested in Software Engineering, that is much less interesting to me than an email stating you're interested in software bug prediction or software evolution.

    Of course, just listing a few buzzwords doesn't impress much either. Some emails I receive appear to be form letters, with a fill-in space for research interest buzzwords. These are pretty easy to spot, and don't demonstrate any sincere interest in performing research in that field. If you want to rise above the crowd, you will identify potentially interesting faculty, then go and read one or two of their recent papers. This will give you a very good idea of their research specialty (you may find you don't like it!) and will allow you to write a customized letter that speaks directly to that faculty's current research interests.

    Here's another example email I received:

    Checking into the web site, I have found that your research areas cater to my type of research interests.

    I interpreted this as follows. First, the student doesn't know or care what research they want to perform, since they didn't state their research interests. This is a red flag, since such a student might be accepted into the program, chew up a year of grant support, and then discover they are really interested in some other research area and switch to another research group. While students often do switch research areas as their interests mature, as a Professor I look to reduce the possibility of this happening, since this is disruptive to a research agenda.

    Second, the prospective student obviously didn't do their homework. They didn't bother to read my web site enough to determine my current research interests.

    Right now you may be thinking, "Reading all these papers takes too much time, especially for a preliminary email." This is true, it does take more time to really understand the research agenda of a faculty member. However, by applying for graduate school, you are asking a professor to make a large financial and time investment. My attitude as a faculty member is, "Why should I admit a prospective student who is not willing to spend 1-2 hours to determine my current research interests?" On the flip side, you are looking to make a commitment to a particular research area, and this can have significant impact on your career and happiness. Doesn't it make sense to have a good idea of what you're getting into?

    3. Use an ASCII-representable name in your email if your native language is ideographic. A lot of spam email has "from" addresses that are not ASCII. Many faculty receive over 100 spam email messages a day. To ensure your message isn't ignored as spam, use an informative Subject line, and an ASCII From address.

    4. Check to see how many students the professor currently has. Research groups are hard to scale up. Generally, faculty members do not like to have more than 3-10 students. If a faculty member has a lot of students already, even if you're Albert Einstein they still might not be interested.

    Some Advice for the Actual Application

    If you have decided to formally apply for graduate student in Computer Science at UCSC, you will be asked to provide a personal statement (an essay), letters of recommendation, GRE and TOEFL test scores, and your undergraduate transcript.

    Personal Statement

    By now it should go without saying that the English in the personal statement needs to be perfect. Have a native speaker review your essay. Pay money to get such a review, if necessary. I frequently see high GRE verbal and TOEFL scores accompanied by a poorly written personal statement. This says to me that the student takes tests well, but still has problems with written English expression.

    In the personal statement, I personally look for evidence that the student has the capacity to perform high quality research. Specifically, I look for evidence of critical thinking, and discussion of prior relevant research or project experience. I also like to see students make a strong case for why they are well suited for graduate study, especially at UCSC.

    Many prospective students write about how they have wanted to study Computer Science since they were a small child, and how it's a lifelong dream and ambition. In extreme moderation this is fine (1-2 sentences at maximum). However, it is reasonable to assume that nearly all prospective students willing to spend the time and effort to apply to the Dept. of CS for graduate school have a deep and sincere interest in Computer Science. One deduction you can make is that spending valuable space in your personal statement on this matter does not differentiate you from the other applicants.

    I personally would like to hear about the difficult aspects of some project you worked on. Tell me how you displayed excellent problem solving skills, were a leader, or showed initiative. Especially if you have done research before, tell me about that research experience, and what you learned from it. Finally, tell me why UCSC is the best place for you to study. There are many universities in the US; why is UCSC the best match for you?

    Don't Send Every Award You've Ever Received

    A few years ago, one student sent a copy of their karate black belt certificate as part of the supplemental materials for their application. While this is a commendable achievement, one that implies a significant degree of discipline, it doesn't say very much about the student's ability to perform graduate studies. In fact, it's a negative, since it indicates the student doesn't have the critical analysis skills to determine what information can truly help their application. We threw the karate certificate in the trash. If you send supplemental information, make sure it is directly relevant to the pursuit of graduate study in Computer Science.

    Make Sure Your Letters Arrive on Time

    The recommendation letters are critically important to your case. Make sure they arrive on time. Letters from academic sources are preferable to those from industry, and a letter from an advisor on a research project is the best, so long as it directly addresses your performance on the research project, and your skills as a researcher.

    Make Your Point Fast

    In the preliminary review of files, the typical application receives 2-8 minutes of consideration by each faculty member that reviews it. Follow-on reviews are typically more detailed, since there are fewer files at this point. Personal statements are first scanned, then carefully read if they seem interesting. Your personal statement should ensure that the most important points are made in the first 1-2 paragraphs.

    You may be thinking, "This isn't very fair. I'm going to spend hours putting together my application, only to have it reviewed very quickly." In defense of the practice, I'll make two observations. First, we receive many hundreds of applications, and must make rapid decisions on them. In order to provide timely response to applicants, each application cannot be reviewed for very long. Second, after reviewing hundreds of applications, faculty get very good at making rapid assessments of academic records. Does this mean we never make mistakes? No. It's an inherently error-prone process, since it involves making highly subjective decisions based on a small number of data points about a person's future academic abilities. Predicting the future is hard.

    Hopefully you've found this advice useful. My sincere best wishes to you in your pursuit of graduate study in Computer Science!

    【作者:Jim Whitehead;2012年4月18日;加州大学圣克鲁兹分校计算机系教授;原文链接:Advice for Foreign Students

    十三、请勿群发套磁邮件

    卡耐基梅隆大学计算机科学系教授Scott E. Fahlman近日在quora回答了自己对套磁的看法,从教授的角度告诉大家该如何更高效、更有针对性地套磁。以下内容译自Scott E. Fahlman在quora上的回答:

    我曾经收到过很多很多的套磁信,所以今天我想来谈谈我对套磁信的看法。

    首先,我非常不能接受群发套磁信。无论什么情况,所有的教授都不希望收到的是一封垃圾邮件,一封随便发送给同一个学校十几位甚至几十位教授的套磁信就是一封垃圾邮件,这说明你根本就没有针对性或者没有诚意地想加入我们。

    其次,有些套磁信不够具体,甚至连称呼都没有。有的学生发来的套磁信中只有一个简单的开头Dear Professor,连具体的学校和项目名称都没有,也完全没有提到我的科研内容,更没有提到自己的兴趣或能力是否和科研项目相关,或者只是在官网上简单地找了几个相关的关键词就说对这个方向很感兴趣,但是这完全看不出来你有用心了解过我的研究方向或内容啊,甚至有时候说的关键词还是错的,根本就不是我的研究方向!

    通常收到这样的千篇一律不真诚的套磁信,我都会直接删除了,或者发一个关于项目介绍的官网链接,但是,基本上就算你后来去查了这个链接,我也不会再考虑这个学生了。

    所以,如果一个学生真的想加入到我的团队,在发邮件之前,至少应该花点时间了解一下我到底在做些什么研究,细节越多越好,可以查相关的论文。这不仅仅是对教授的一种尊重,更是对自己的负责,只有你真正了解了教授的研究方向,你才能知道这些东西是不是你感兴趣的。

    如果上述前提确定好,那么我想我最关心的,也是大部分教授最关心的就是你的科研背景是否和我的项目相匹配。所以,在信中清晰地说明自己的科研背景、做过的项目、发表论文的情况、掌握的技术以及自己未来想从事的研究方向是整个套磁信中最重要的部分。同时,如果能结合自己和教授的情况,说明自己能够为项目提供的帮助也是很有必要的。尽管具体的匹配程度需要教授自己来判断,但是逻辑清晰、语言准确地推销出自己也能够让教授看到你的能力或者潜力,即使不是完美匹配,教授也会认真考虑。

    基于以上,我认为一份好的套磁信应该直截了当地介绍自己的基本情况,然后重点说明自己的科研背景和对项目的了解、匹配程度,可以适当询问教授项目的具体情况。如果教授对你感兴趣,自然会回答你的问题或者询问你更多细节问题。

    另外,教授是否回信大多取决于以下几种情况:教授有多忙,你有多优秀,你的英语表达能力,你有多么想为这个教授工作。

    并且,套磁信尽量早点开始,这样你可以有更多时间跟教授联系,如果在申请旺季开始,每天我的邮箱里会收到茫茫多的套磁信,恐怕能不能看到你的邮件都是问题。

    最后,套磁并不能保证录取。哪怕我很喜欢你,但是如果我当时没有项目资金再多雇一个人,或者出现了更好的候选人,那我也没办法要你。但是,如果我真的很欣赏你,也许我可以推荐你到其他教授或者其他项目那里。

    荏苒柔木

    2017-01-12
    最后修改时间: