Picking your advisor

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  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Picking your advisor

Post by woepriest » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:16 am

So most of you by now should know what school you got accepted into but here comes the second step which is picking the advisor. This person pretty much can be called your boss has the ability to determine your fate for the next four to six years. So heres a question to all of you, what kind of qualities or aspects are you looking for in your advisor? Might it be funding, research opportunities, or some other factors like caring about your future prospect.

For me Im looking for research opportunities and someone who has enough connection to land me a job at a good company. Mind you Im not planning on taking academia route.

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Re: Picking your advisor

Post by Andromeda » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:00 pm

1) Can they hire you funding-wise (this is not magically going to change in a year so if they say no take heed)
2) Can you get along with them. You do NOT want to work for someone who you'd be miserable working for and you think won't support you.
3) Do they have a good reputation when you ask PhD students about them. Personally I would stay away from anyone students warn you about or you don't get a good vibe from.

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Re: Picking your advisor

Post by bfollinprm » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:51 pm

I would also look for an advisor who has a strong working relationship with the other faculty in the department, and/or with faculty at nearby universities. It's important that the community as a whole starts to care about who you are once you start looking for postdocs, and that's hard if your advisor doesn't have contacts to introduce you to.

The other side of the coin is that I would personally stay away from advisors who seem preoccupied with research predominately undertaken at another university. I was very turned off of Irvine when I discovered my primary faculty interest spent most of his time at CalTech.

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Re: Picking your advisor

Post by vicente » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:34 am

Read about what former graduate students of the professor are doing. Do they have exciting jobs that a Physics Ph.D. gave them the experience and skills to do? Talk to the current graduate students and ask them what kind of guidance and support the professor gives toward developing their skills and completing their degree in a reasonable amount of time.

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