FIND SOMEONE WHO SHARES YOUR INTEREST
Beyond looking at departmental directories, you can search Northwestern Scholars to find faculty who share your interests. Even if you’ve never taken a class with a professor, you can reach out to them. Read their work to determine what it is that they actually do and if there is a match with your interests. Then send a succinct email asking if you can come to their office hours to discuss your - and their - research ideas.
HOW TO MAKE CONTACT
Faculty Are People, Too!
While often busy, faculty care about the same things as you do, so it is perfectly normal for you to reach out to them. Remember to always be professional and responsible in all of your contacts, which includes making sure you always use their correct titles (Prof or Dr, not Mr / Ms).
Show What You Know
You have taken the time to read some of their scholarly work, beyond just the basics. Let them know that you are really interested and want to talk with them to learn more. In other words, be specific about your interests and why you are contacting them in.
Looking for a lab? Try Lab Managers and Grad Students
Many principle investigators are incredibly busy and delegate parts of running the lab to others. When you email a lab, copy the lab manager, post docs, and/or grad students. Say you are open to speaking with whoever is available.
COOL YOUR JETS
Don’t Send Mass Emails
Do you respond to bulk emails that are obviously not written you to, but to some unseen group? Take the time to write an individual email. It will make all the difference in the world.
Don’t Ask for a Wedding Ring on the First Date
In your initial email, don’t ask whether they will be your sponsor/advisor or pay you to work for them. Instead, ask to meet so you can talk. For more tips, see Find A Lab.
I HAVE A MEETING SCHEDULED!
Find tips for that first meeting in Working with Faculty.