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Step 2: Contact

Create a shortlist

Contact mentors

Follow up

REVIEW your list, prioritizing your strongest interest areas to contact first.

Did you know you can find faculty email addresses at
Log in and enter the name in the search box at the top right.

CONTACT the faculty member or researcher in person or by email

  • In person – Drop by their office or lab and ask if they (or someone in their group) has time to speak with you. If not, send an email. Note: This is only applicable for Homewood based contacts. Have a scheduled appointment for all interactions on other campuses. This saves you time and stress as other campuses have different security protocols and faculty often have offices, labs, and departments in different building making them a challenge to randomly track down!
  • By Email – Do NOT send a form email (*sort of)!
    • Always use your JHU email address. This legitimizes your inquiry and shows professionalism.
    • Always BCC yourself. This allows for easier follow up later.
    • Keep your email brief. It should not read longer than a single screen on a smart phone. If they need to scroll, they mostly likely will not read the email at all.
    • Do not send your resume/ CV or other documents on the initial contact email. You just want to get your foot in the door!
    • Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself (name, class, major)
    • Paragraph 2: *this is the section that is different for each contact: In a couple sentences, briefly mention something in their research that interests you or specific topics/ areas you are interested in. Do not be afraid to ‘stroke their ego’ a little. Everyone likes to hear how great they are!
    • Paragraph 3: Request a meeting to learn about research opportunities. Offer to send reference documents for their review (resume/CV, recommendations, personal statement, transcript as applicable). Thank them for their time.

FOLLOW UP if you do not receive a response within 3 – 4 days.

  • Faculty receive hundreds of emails per day and have many other obligations. A lack of response is not a personal slight.
  • Polite persistence is key. You are not stalking or harassing and you will not get blocked; you are professionally following up.
  • Send follow-up emails – just reply all to the email copy now in your inbox (from BCCing). “I am following up on my previous email, below, regarding…” or “I am following up on my email of October 5th…”
  • These follow-up emails can be sent every 3-4 days if you have not received a response.
  • You can keep sending follow-up emails 3, 4, 5 times (until you feel you are done trying)
  • If you are unsuccessful in getting a response you can:
    • Email a final email asking if there is someone else in their group you could speak to (a post doc or grad student) or for a referral to a colleague doing similar research.
    • Find a lab or research group page and contact a postdoc or grad student with your inquiry, letting them know you have tried to contact the mentor with no success. Ask them if they have time to discuss opportunities.


Vice Provost for Research

265 Garland Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

(410) 516-8094

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