Advice for Students

collage of photographs of cities, nature, texture, buildings, people, and other subjects
Some of my photographs featured in the pages below.

I created these pages to help students understand typically unwritten customs and procedures in academia. You're welcome to contact me if you have questions about them.

Getting Started

The Guide to the Advice contains suggestions for which of these pages to read and a brief history of this part of my website.

The Guide for Interacting With Faculty is for students (especially first-year undergraduates and international students) who want to learn about expectations that university faculty have for them.

Writing and Publishing

The Guide for Scholarly Writing is for students who are writing manuscripts for assignments or for publication.

The Guide for Citations and References is for students who are new to using citations and references, or need to refresh their memory.

The Guide for Publishing in Conferences and Attending Them is for students who want to share their work with the research community.


Thoughts on Failure is a personal narrative about my biggest failures, with some advice from experience. Students who set challenging goals for themselves may find the contents of this page particularly relatable.

Thoughts on Competition in Academia is a personal narrative about competing for scholarships, awards, and other opportunities that I encourage my students to apply for.

Thoughts on Photography describes my approach to taking the pictures that appear throughout these pages.

My Lab

The Guide for Joining My Lab is for prospective students and visitors who are interested in doing research with me. It also contains some general guidance on graduate school in computer science and information science.

The Guide for Working in My Lab is for current lab members.

Academia as a Career

The Guide for the Tenure-Track Job Market in Computer/Information Sciences is for people (students and others) who want to apply for faculty positions.

The Guide to Professorspeak is a glossary of terms for new faculty and others who are curious about the jargon faculty use.

Quick Replies

Need Help? is a page I sometimes send as a reply to prospective research advisees who need help formulating their questions. I encourage other faculty to reply with a page like this when necessary, rather than ignoring prospectives' emails.

Emailing a Professor: How to do it Well is a page I sometimes send as a reply to students who will benefit from tips on professional email etiquette. I wrote it so that other faculty can use it too.

Reference Letter Procedure is a page I sometimes send to students when I agree to write them reference letters, explaining what they need to send me.


To find out what's new, read the Advice Changelog.