I interviewed Bhavesh Sanghvi, CS grad from Iowa State University who is now working with Amazon in USA. He thinks that everyone works on their SOP, LORs and resume but if you can do this one thing, it might put you at a big advantage. And, now is the time to do it.
Yes, we are talking about emailing the Professors!
I also interviewed Ankit Srivastava, Asst Professor at IIT Chicago and PhD from University of California, San Diego. He said emailing Professors can be tricky but highly rewarding.
Here is why it can be so effective (as Ankit told me) – Professors fund students through grants and the goal of any school is to be able to admit and fund as many good students as possible. So, if a Professor recommends a student and can potentially fund her, the school committee would be more than happy to admit her. It’s funny how simple and logical it is and yet, how many students ignore this step!
I had a student last year whose friend put her in touch with her advisor who was looking for a suitable grad student immediately. Not only did the Professor recommend my student’s admission after a quick review of her resume (yes not even looking at SOP etc) but also gave her full funding. Things moved at lightning speed and it was one of the smoothest admission and visa process as you can imagine.
The bottom line is while it is very hard to get positive responses from the Professors, if you hit it right, it can be more effective than ANY other thing in your application. So you would be a fool to not try it out. And, I am sure you are not!
In MS Book, I have covered the topic in detail and provided sample emails and templates on how to contact the Professors because it is an important thing to do. Check it out here – http://scholarstrategy.com/smart-engineer-book/
So, do not leave out on this step when you are working hard to get into those TOP schools anyway. Good luck!