Proven Steps to Cold-call a University Professor 

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Cold-calling a university professor can be a very intimidating task, especially for international students who seek a research processor or want to study abroad. Statistics show that cold calling a university professor is an effective way to reach them. However, there are the right processes or procedures to make sure it is successful. 

Unfortunately, students tend to avoid cold-calling university professors for fear of being rejected. But the fear is uncalled for and should not prevent them from chasing their academic success abroad. This is because it helps to initiate contact and build a strong academic relationship between you and a professor. 

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Here are the  guidelines to help you cold call a university professor: 

Steps to Cold Call A University Professor

1. Research about the professor:

Before you call the university professor, you should make sure to do your research about him/her. This will give you strong information about how to get into a conversation with them. Furthermore, you should look for professors who align with your academic visions and aspirations before you contact them. 

To find out more about these professors, you should: 

  • Check the university’s website, 
  • department pages, 
  • or academic publications to get important information.

2. Work on your introduction: 

First impressions matter! Therefore, before you make that cold call to the university professor after you have done your research on them, you should work on the format of your introduction. This involves working on the way you will introduce yourself to them without sounding nervous. 

You must include information like: 

  • Your name, 
  • educational background, 
  • specific interests, 
  • and why you are calling them. 

Additionally, you should make sure that you include why you are interested in undertaking their field of work.

3. Obtain contact information:

Furthermore, you should seek out their contact information, which can either be their email address or office phone number. However, if they state on their bio that they prefer contact via email, then you should email them rather than call them. 

4. It should be straight to the point:

Most university professors do not want to talk too much or like reading long and wordy essays. Following these rules, you should make sure to come up with a conversation format that is direct and straight to the point so as not to lose the attention of the professor. 


  • Emails – 3 to 4 paragraphs is enough
  • Calls – 2 to 3 minutes is enough unless the professor wants to talk more with you. 

5. Adhere to proper email etiquette: 

When writing your email or cold calling the university professor, you should address them by their respective titles. For example: 

  • Professor [Last Name], 
  • Dr. [Last Name]). 

Additionally, you should review and edit your grammar and spelling errors. Furthermore, you should state the reason for contacting them and also request that they allow you to call them privately to discuss your interests with them.

6. Personalize your message: 

You should avoid using generic messages to contact university professors. This is because those types of messages lack heart and will not connect well with the reader. Therefore, you need to tailor your message in a way that reflects your passion and interest in that field. 

For example: 

  • You should mention the works that caught your interest
  • mention how it connects with your area of study
  • and you should mention how you plan to improve it. 

7. Sell yourself briefly:

You should state the following accordingly: 

  • introduce yourself 
  • sell yourself and 
  • make it clear why and how you are different from other people who may have been cold calling or contacting the professor. 

Achieving this can take a lot of effort as well as lots of editing and rewriting.

8. Make sure your details are right

Before sending the message, make sure to go over your details to create an error-free message. 

9. Follow up:

You do not want to seem desperate, but you should try to seek feedback or follow-up. Therefore, you can send a follow-up message a week or two weeks after sending your first email to the professor. If they have previously permitted you to call them, you can give them a call during their free hours. 

10. Be professional and show gratitude: 

Make sure that during communication with the professor, you express: 

  • Gratitude
  • Respect
  • Professionalism

Note that you must maintain all these, whether the communication was successful or not. This is because most professors have numerous requests to attend to and may not be able to address you until the future. 

Contact AfterSchoolAfrica For Support 

At AfterSchoolAfrica, we understand that to build an inclusive global economy, education should be based on the potential for value creation.

Therefore, through our global education partners and experience in the international educational space, we can help and support African students to complete their graduate education in the US, Canada, or the UK. 

Are you an African graduate student with future career potential? Edxtra Student Loan Support Service will provide you with the needed expert support and guidance to get student loans from our global lending partners to study at leading global universities.

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