How do I figure out which graduate advisor to pick?
April 16, 2012 8:54 AM Subscribe
I'm not sure what to do about the "politics of graduate school". I am a beginning student in Fall 2012, and I have some serious issues. How do I decide my advisor? Am I just letting the stress get to me?
posted by anonymous to human relations (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So, I got accepted into my dream school. There's a lot of amazing professors there, and I'm thrilled to be attending in the fall. However, I'm not 100% on what I want to do my thesis on or who I want to be working with. When I talked to students, it seemed like we had an initial professor for the first bit and then we chose our real advisor. The students made it seem like our choices were wide open and that we could really work with anybody who fit with us.
I'm not really sure if that is the case. I talked with some awesome professors when I was there, but maybe I didn't ask enough questions. I was really, really nervous. I just got an email from a professor that I didn't really "click" with asking if I wanted to work with him. We discussed his work and it was pretty obvious (to me) that the work wasn't what I wanted to do. I said as much in our personal meeting. What does his request even mean? I don't know if I can decline tactfully or at all. I don't know what the unsaid connotations are. I don't know how I'll be able to advocate for myself and get what I need out of it. Graduate students did say that professors often try and poach 'good' students away from each other, so maybe that's what is happening? I feel like I need more time to decide. He emailed me RIGHT at the April 15th deadline, too. It's making me sick.
Can somebody please give me a little more insight into graduate school politics? This university is tier 1 and highly prestigious; I come from a small non-research college...I don't really have anybody I can talk to about this. I feel like I'm at a huge disadvantage.
I don't know how to find the professor that I truly want to work with. I met a lot of people that I liked. Should I be emailing them? How can I decline this professor? Omg. Please, help. I don't want to ruin everything.