11 months ago
Admissions Advice

when should you cold email, and how should you do it?

Hi! For reference I’m a high school student. (Rising Sophomore)

My question is, when should you cold email a college professor, and how long of an internship should you ask for?

For example, let’s say you play sports during the fall, so you couldn’t do an internship during the fall/winter. Would I have to cold email a college professor in the spring? Or can I cold email them in the fall and ask for a spring/summer internship? In fact, could I just cold email a college professor right now if I wanted an opportunity in the spring perhaps?

Also, if I cold email a college professor for an internship, should I ask them for a full year internship or a 1 month - 2 month internship? I want a long enough time to make an impact but I don’t want years of my time being put on one internship, as I have other passions I would like to pursue.

Maybe a silly question, but if I cold email a college professor, should I specifically ask for an internship, or should I just ask for a “research opportunity”? I don’t know if wording is important or not.

Ive also noticed a lot of videos about cold emailing talk about working in labs and doing some form of medicine or science related work. However, would I be able to get an internship or opportunity in other fields, such as computer science or graphic design, just by cold emailing?

Sorry if this is a little complicated to answer but I would appreciate any help!


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Accepted Answer
10 months ago

In my experience with cold emailing, the best thing is to just be as enthusiastic as possible. Don't focus so much on asking for an "internship" or how long it will be. As a high schooler, you basically want anything they have to offer you, right? Beggars can't be choosers. I think asking for a "research opportunity" is a good way to go about it, but maybe they don't have any research opportunities, but still could offer mentorship or refer you to a colleague. Be open to anything.

Regarding the timing, it never hurts to ask early. You might not ever get a response from them, so it's better to know early on if they'll even respond to you. You really can't be too early, because even if you can't take on anything for a few months/year, at least you're on their radar and you can always reach out again further in the future.

Finally, there are opportunities in every field. College professors are not the only people you can email. Think of a company/organization you would LOVE to work for. Find a person on their website you could contact and send them an email introducing yourself! (This is what I did.) Cold emailing is very hit or miss, but you have nothing to lose! Again, in my experience, the people I've emailed have been really happy to see an enthusiastic young person interested in their field, so just show your eagerness and be open to anything they can offer you.

Hope this helps!

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