Before you start reading I want you to know the fact that the hit rate will be very less for the internships applied through emails, you should be ready to send dozens of emails without getting any reply. There’s no upper limit though, you can send 50 or 100 or even above as far your desperation can take you.
Even more importantly I want you to know that I myself have not landed one from any well-recognized institutes. I’m writing this just from my experience of applying to a lot of profs for the sole reason that a few people are eager to know about how to get an internship. Having said that, I’ve written all that I felt will benefit an applicant to the best of my knowledge. Any additions are welcome. Also you can find the list of Internships available through official portal submitted by our group members.
How do I discover the Profs working in my field of Interest?
- Go through the official websites of all the institutes and find the Mail-Ids of profs working in the field of your interest.
- Google their names and go to their profiles in LinkedIn, Research gate and Google scholar to find their frequent collaborators and network of ppl working in their field.
- Find the co-authors of their papers who are working in the same field
- Look for any conferences happened earlier on the topic of interest in any institute and see the presenters and attendees list.
- If you have any friends or acquaintance working in that field, ask them about some student-friendly profs to apply to.
- Do check in institutes even if they appear irrelevant to your field also. I found a high energy physicist in an IIIT(International Institute of Information technology)!!!!
- Do apply to low-level underfunded institutes as well-where your chances of acceptance will be higher- just to ensure you’ll at least get one acceptance.
- And don’t shy away from applying to the profs of the top institutes, you never know who might accept you. There have been cases where some students were accepted by profs from really good institutes and rejected by some ordinary institutes.
- If the institution is close by your place, then try to meet profs personally at any cost. Mail them asking about their free time and have a meeting with them. A meeting in person will have much more impact than asking for an internship through mail. Also attended conferences or seminars if they happen in nearby places. You’ll get to meet some students and profs there.
What to write?
A year or two after I’ve written all of this Atharva Modi has written this excellent post specifically about writing mails for Internships & Projects. He did a much better job than I did, so you should refer to that as well before writing mails.
- Write about why you’re aspiring to do an internship in that specific field, and what is it that attracts you towards it and makes you want to shift your stream from engineering to physics?
- If you have more than one field of interest do prepare one letter for each.
- Try to avoid a generic description of a broad field, Be as specific as possible about your field of interest
- Also, read about current research the prof is doing and papers published by them, and mention about them if you find anything interesting.
- Mention if you’ve read any book or done any online course related.
- I believe doing the above will increase your chances by a great degree, so do read any standard textbook or do some online course to show them the genuineness of your interest in the field.
- Do clearly mention in the subject of the mail if you’re okay with an unpaid internship or if you can arrange accommodation for yourself. This might earn you some extra points. Write something like “Application for a summer internship (Paid/Unpaid)”
- Also, ask them if they recommend any specific books or material to refer before reaching there which would help you in the project it’d let them know your eagerness to work.
- Mention about good things (if you have any😅) in your academic career so far.
- Like a good GPA, top rank in class, Good rank in competitive exams like GATE or JEE or your rank in your state engineering entrance exams. Mention the percentile rather than rank, 96 percentile sounds better than a rank of 500😜.
- Most importantly don’t fake or lie about anything
- Apply as early as possible, you can even start applying as early as October for a summer project. You’ll have an advantage as most profs works on a first come first serve basis.
Tips to score some extra brownies…
- Prepare a generic mail for each field and customize it for each prof individually.
- It’s better to mention the name of the prof and the institute somewhere in the early paragraphs so that the profs will not think that you have copy pasted the same thing and may have possibly sent it to many others and so accepting your application would be a waste of their time.
- Double check the names of the prof and the institute before mailing to save yourself from embarrassment later (had one such experience 😇)
- If the prof doesn’t reply after two-three days send them a gentle reminder about it. One better send it during a weekend when they might have free time to reply. I actually got acceptances from profs after sending reminders.
- Even after a rejection also you can thank them for their taking time to reply and alongside you can ask them to consider you for any future openings or any short term project if possible.
Physics after Engineering.
You can find the FAQs and important conversations happened earlier in the groups in this SubRedditr/Physicsaftrengineerin/
Mail me on [email protected] for further queries.