Graduate Admissions: Does your research interests matter?

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<p>Yea, there's a problem with the first posts in new threads it seems....</p>

<p>I swear this site has more technical issues than any other site I frequent save demonoid.</p>

<p> sorry..the server crashed a while back
here's what I wanted to say:</p>

<p>Hey I'll be applying to grad schools this winter and for my SOP, I had to get some things cleared out. Basically, does one's research interests or choice of labs that he/she wants to work in affect his/her admission?? For example, if you are applying for mechanical engineering, does your chances of getting into an university depend on whether you want to pursue biomechanics, modeling, fluids or heat transfer. </p>

<p>First of all, if like the department's heads looks over the applications, does he really look at the spots available in the labs of that sub-field or does he just admit the student based on his profile. This match of research interests and spots in's definitely done to figure out if the student get funding..but i didn't know if this was a factor for admissions.</p>

<p>Lastly, let's say your research interests does affect your chances into an elite grad school, or at least do you increase your chances of getting in. Do you pick what the university is famous/popular/acclaimed for because they might potentially have more spots for that area? But aren't you then competing with a lot of students cuz the less money available for one student? </p>

<p>Ya I know you are not supposed to do change your area of interest for getting in to an university but I have like a few areas that I want to go in and I could pick a certain for a certain school...Thanks for your input</p>

<p>Yes, it can heavily affect your chances of admission at a school. At my school professors usually say approximately how many students they want to take the next year, and maybe some info on what sort of projects that funding has to be spent on. So, for example, if you're interested in powder metallurgy, there's just about zero chance any professors here would want you in their lab.</p>

<p>So this is true for like the universities that are elite for for those programs too?? Wouldn't those universities do research on all the subfields?</p>

<p>But if it's a case of labs not having spots for me, could I mention a few lab names in my SOP? Is that ok? Hopefully it doesn't show too much waywardness.</p>

<p>In my case, I want to do research in modeling and computation in the area of heat transfer systems/control I could apply in the area of computational mechanics, or design or heat transfer systems..</p>

<p>All programs generally have some sort of specialty. There will be a handful of professors working on a roughly outlined subject. There's also way more subfields within most fields than there are professors in that field at a typical school, so even the elite programs don't have all the bases covered. For example, take a look at a the listing of symposium going on at the next conference within your field. I know in my field there's usually 40+ subfields represented, and I don't think any schools even have that many professors in their materials department. </p>

<p>Do the schools require you put down specifically one of those subfields to apply under? I don't think your proposed topic is too broad, as it definitely narrows down how many people you would want to work for, but it certainly doesn't pigeonhole you into only one particular group. It's always a good idea to only apply to schools where there's 3+ professors you could see yourself working for (and admissions committees know this), so keeping your statement a little broad certainly isn't a bad thing.</p>

<p>thanks a lot for your input Racin</p>