Meeting Potential Faculty Mentors- in 2 Minutes

Once you’ve compiled your list of potential faculty mentors, it is time to begin reaching out to them! This can be quite a nerve-wracking experience and it makes a lot of students nervous, so here are some tips to prepare you for meeting up with your potential mentors. (see my 2 Minute Guide on Identifying Research Mentors here:

-If you plan to go to their office hours, it is a good idea to email them first so they are expecting you. (See my guide to emailing professors here: ).

-Do your research before you meet them! Learn (from the department website) about their research interests, areas of specialization, and publications. Read their CV. Read some of their recent articles if you have time.

-Have a specific purpose for meeting them and let them know what that purpose is. Do you have a specific research program in mind that you want them to be involved in? Does it have a deadline? Do you want them to supervise and independent study? Do you just want to know a bit more about the field? Great! Let them know before you meet.

-Bring them your CV or resume. It will help them get acquainted with your work, show them that you are serious and professional, and it will be a handy resource if they need to write you a letter of recommendation down the line.

-Consider including a brief paragraph on your research interests, questions, and experiences in your CV. It will help them remember the details of your scholarly work.

- Think about how you want to end the meeting to. If it is going well, send them a follow up email, or potentially even ask them about a follow up meeting.

-If the meeting reveals that your research interests are not compatible, then you can end the meeting by asking them if they know any faculty with similar interests as you.

-Be considerate of their time and make sure that they are considerate of yours. Initial meetings usually last between 20 minutes to an hour. (This is not to say that you need to cut it short!)

-Be confident! You already look like a great student because you’ve taken the time to find them, read their work, schedule a meeting with them, and ask them a series of questions.

-If they decline your offer to be a faculty mentor, don’t be discouraged. It probably has more to do with their time commitments, or a lack of overlap in your areas of specialization, than their personal judgment about you. Rejection is not a measure of your worth, it is an inevitable experience in academia.

I love philosophy, history, and social justice. I help students succeed with academic consulting.

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