Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Deciding on a student

I have started getting emails from prospective PhD students. The emails are getting from places that I do know about and from places that I have no idea about. For example I am getting a lot of email from Country A.

I do not know anything about this country A's education system and their grading techniques/processes. So I am unable to judge these students that may come from different institutes in country A from their GPA's. This is with the assumption that grading policies in different institutes will be different.

These are primarily undergraduate students but some of them have been exposed to research questions. This is evident from their CV's  that they have published some papers. However, the papers are mostly in regional journals and conferences. Also it is difficult to assess how much they might have contributed.

Many of these students need a RA or a TA and I have limited spots. So how do I decide?

One way to decide is to engage a faculty from that country and forward the students info to them to see what they think of them.

Any tips?


  1. I think it is best to ask a trusted senior faculty in your department, someone who is a bit close to your field and has a track record for advising grad students from many different countries. There are some faculty who will only have grad students from a particular country, so asking them may not be that useful, imo.

  2. What TheGrinch said. There are your colleagues who recruit from specific countries, they are the best to ask about how the schools are ranked. I recruit heavily from 2 or 3 countries, and only from 2 or 3 schools in each country and so far so good.

  3. Sounds reasonable.

    I am thinking if such a faculty adviser is not available what are the other way to judge the student (without investing any monetary resources). The only way I can see in this case is to let the student come in and work for a summer or something without any commitment from my side.

  4. Dr. Noncoding ArenayMarch 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Look for grad students within your program/department or even the international student assoc., who are from that country and consult with them on how good the scores of those students really are. You can keep the names of the applicants anonymous.