If you like to get Research Assistant and some cases Teaching Assistant position, then you have to work with professors and help them with their research. Some of the common mistake committed by students include:
- Writing email to professors requesting financial aid
- Walk straight to professors office and ask them to give them RA
First, you need to show your interest and prove to them you can solve research problems. Following guide was written by a second semester MS in Mechanical Engineering student in USA.
- How to get Financial Aid – Part 1 (this post)
- How to get financial aid – Part 2
Learn About Professors Research
I’m assuming that you know the names of Professors who are working on research topics which interest you even before you go to your VISA. After your VISA process is done, visit the department site as much as possible and get the following details:
- Details of the Professors / curriculum vitae – Can be found from department site.
- Publications – Can be found from department site (or their website)
- Recent research topic(s) – Can be found from Professor by e-mailing him (or their website)
- The Labs where they work on – Can be found from Professor by e-mailing him (or their website)
Don’t worry at all if you’re not getting reply from Professor. Usually they rarely reply to students who use mail IDs other than the university’s mail IDs. Even if you don’t get to know their latest research work and the labs where they work through their e-mail, just make a reminder of it somewhere so that you don’t forget to collect that information once you reach US.
Find all the publications of the Professor through Google, Google Scholar, Science Direct etc. If it is copyrighted and you’re unable to access it, make a note of it. Take printouts of all the publications that are accessible to you. Read them carefully with interest. Find some topic in the paper that interests you to discuss with someone. Note down all your doubts. Do some other ground works like getting to know about the latest developments in that field. Use Google to find some resources for it. Refer some textbooks. Even little knowledge about the topic in this manner is enough to start a successful conversation with the Professor.
Click here to read How to Get Financial Aid from Professors – Part 2