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I'm applying to a graduate program, and one of the application's requirements is to select at least one advisor, along with a reason for the selection. Specifically, this is the requirement:

In order to match you with a faculty adviser, tell us which faculty member's work most closely aligns with your interest.

And there is a list from which I should choose the advisor's name, and a text field in which I'm asked to write a reason for the selection.

I already know the advisors whom I'd like to work with, and the reason is simply that I'm interested in what they do (based on their recent papers/projects). But I'm not sure if this is what they're looking for, because they've already said this in the quoted text above, and also I will choose more than one advisor, and writing the same reason doesn't seem right.

My question is: What other reasons that one may have for selecting an advisor, other than having shared interests?

1 Answer 1

Some things I can think of (I'm a PhD student in my final year):

  1. An advisor may be famous in their field, which in turn affects your abilities to make academic contacts.
  2. An advisor may be known to be good at advising, to prioritise advising PhD students, make time when needed, etc. Having PhD students is good for an advisor, not least because PhD students produce papers.
  3. An advisor may be a pleasant person to work with.

It may be hard to find someone meeting all three. I know of cases where (1) is met, but where the advisor is so busy that they hardly have time for their PhD student(s) (now I need to write a proposal, please come back in three months) so that other seniors in the same group do most of the supervision in practice.

There are probably other factors that I'm not thinking of right now.