Faculty scoop: What are you looking for in a prospective graduate student?

We’ve reached out to faculty members across disciplines and asked them what makes them interested in an applicant. Here’s what they had to say: 

“I would be looking for students with a solid academic background, research experience, some relevant life experience that indicates maturity and appropriate goal motivation, interesting ideas that they’d like to pursue in grad school, convergence with my program of research, and good interpersonal dynamic.”

—Professor in Psychology

“An introductory email, that is specifically tailored to what I do, and shows that the student has done some homework to familiarize themselves with that arena, goes a very long way to getting me interested in taking them on.”

—Professor in Kinesiology

“I am looking for passion. It goes without saying that students must meet an acceptable academic standard to be successful in graduate school. Beyond that, post-graduate degrees can be very challenging and commitment and genuine enthusiasm about research in my area of interest is essential for a student to endure and work through the challenges that they will face.”

—Professor in Medicine

“The usual things are easy, good grades and test scores (when they are required or given). But those things generally won't be what gets you in, they are the things that can keep you out if they are not high enough. We are a research department, and our graduate students are training to be researchers. So first and foremost, we are looking for people that are a good fit for the department in terms of what they want to work on. That doesn't mean that they have to want to work on exactly the same things as our faculty members do, but that we can advise them well, given their interests and our interests and abilities. This is something that comes through in their statement.”

—Professor in Linguistics