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    Hello all,

    I’m thinking of applying for a PhD position in the Netherlands in applied physics. Before I do that, however, I think it would be a good idea to visit the lab and meet with the professor to see the quality of the lab and get a feel for the work environment. Also, I believe that if they have met me in person beforehand it could increase my chances of being accepted for the position.

    Do you guys think it’s appropriate to do this? The PhD students in my previous research group said they thought it was a good idea but I’d like to get a second opinion.

    Also, how would I go around asking for a meeting? I’m sure the professor is really busy and I’m afraid I’ll come across as too demanding for a prospective PhD student. Could I just simply state that I am very interested in the PhD position but would like to visit the lab first to make a decision? Or does saying that seem like I don’t know what I want?

    I'm a little confused as to what is acceptable etiquette so any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
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    Just say in the email that you can meet each other if by any chance he has to come in the UK.
    If your PhD starts next year (2015), maybe you should go in the Netherlands to see the lab and team by yourself.
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    You cannot expect this before you even submit an application and in most cases this sort of visit would only be offered if you were on the shortlist - ie. as part of the interview process. Making contact by email is a good way to introduce yourself (make it brief) and this does often help your application - but any approach that appears arrogant ('You'd be lucky to have me as a student so I'll just check if you are worthy of my presence') should be avoided. It implies the decision is in your hands - and actually its totally in theirs.
    PS. Most Universities in Europe have superb facilities and since PhD students are treated as employees, they have a far better experience than in the UK. Apply.
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    The university will probably have a general PhD open day prior to when applications need to be sent in but I doubt you'd get a 1 on 1 meeting with a specific professor just when you feel like it. I'd say emailing asking to visit is fine, they will understand you not wanting to spend time writing an application before you've seen where you're applying to.
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    If you were applying for a job there you wouldn't expect either a tour of the company or a meeting with the boss - would you?
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    It would probably be more sensible to apply for the PhD, and then if they are interested, say you want to visit the lab at the interview stage. Asking to see the lab before you apply is a bit weird, but its totally understandable to want to see it before you accept an offer.
 
 
 
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