During First Semester
Once you get to the university place in US, go, talk to your department seniors. Find out who are working in your field of interest and under which Professor. Get whatever information possible on Professors like
Their research work,
Their work environment,
Each Professor’s preferences,
When do each Professor allow their students to graduate etc.
Now try to access those publications that were inaccessible to you while you were in India. Sometimes, you might get access to that files that were copyrighted through the university network since there might be some tie-ups of those sites with universities. Or try asking some seniors and get your hands on those papers which interest you.
Find out all the courses that each Professor is taking for that term.
Email to Professors
Now, E-mail each Professor individually. Arrange with an appointment with each of your choice of Professors. Go talk to them.
Never open the conversation regarding funding or research assistantship.
Ask him about which courses to register for that term since you are planning to do specialize in the field where exactly where the Professor’s research lies.
Ask him for guidance for the next term too on how to take courses accordingly so as to specialize in your field of interest.
Ask him whether taking his courses would help you in your specialization.
Ask the Professor, what are their current research works?
Say you are planning to do research in your field of interest.
As soon as you say this, there is a chance where the Professor may interrupt you to tell you that he’s not looking to hire a student right now or he will see to it in the next term or something like that.
Now say that you’re looking forward to work in your interests and money is only secondary to you. Say that you’re not looking for money and you willing to work without being paid. If necessary you may have to do so in real. But don’t worry.
If they ask you to work without saying or giving you anything, then are scrutinizing your work in silence. Once you have earned their trust, they’ll fund you automatically. Money comes automatically where there is passion!
Now this much is enough for the first visit. Again book an appointment with him sometime later.
Say that you have some doubts on some previous research works of them which interests you a lot.
Ask your doubts. Ok
Continue this process until a certain time.
Now when talking to different Professors will definitely get you an idea as to which of them made themselves clear, organized and pakka.
Now summarize all the information that you have received regarding the Professor. Every – every detail of him and analyze. Decide on which topic you’re going to work on and under whose guidance? Because sometimes, even though Professor’s research topic interests us, it might not suit you. His work environment, his preferences, is he active on his research work or has stopped working and just teaching courses, availability of people to guide you, the way how you see the Professors, how seniors see the Professors – all of this can be a deciding factor for you.
Once you have decided you’re good to go.
What should you remember while collecting information?
Internet via Department site
All that glitters are not gold. Do not believe whatever you see in the Professor’s profile at the site. THEY ARE NOT ALL UPDATED. Its left to each Professor to update their profile or not. So try to get to know the updates from the Professor himself via e-mail or through seniors.
Everyone has their own perspective. Each one sees the world as they see it fit. So don’t blindly follow what seniors tell you. Meet up with the Professors and confirm it for yourself. According to you they might even be wrong or exaggerated.