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  1. Hi Everyone, My last open house visit got cancelled as more places take precautionary measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus. I was really counting on this visit to help me make a decision between this program and one other, and now unfortunately that won't be possible. Does anyone have any advice about how to make a decision without actually seeing the department and getting a sense of the vibe there? Information about the program and city is easy enough to come by, but it doesn't really tell you what life is like there as a student IMO. Has anyone had to make a "blind" decision and can share their experience? Anyone else in the same boat with open house cancellations? Probably not relevant, but I'm in linguistics (PhD programs).
  2. So I'm in a bit of a jam. I was invited to an interview/recruitment weekend with School A, but I am scheduled to attend their "alternate" weekend date because of a conflict. I have already called their travel agency and booked plane tickets (so I presume the university has already paid for my flights). However, School B just contacted me and invited me to their recruitment weekend which is at the same time as when I am scheduled to visit School A. I would rather go visit School B, because it's in a location I've always wanted to visit (yay for free travel!) and because they have a lot more faculty that I would be interested in working with. Also, I fear that School A's alternate weekend won't give me the full recruitment experience, and that because I'm not attending the regular weekend I will have lowered my chances of acceptance anyway. I've asked School B if they have an alternate weekend, but I suspect that they don't. Would I completely tank my chances of acceptance at School A if I cancelled my trip? If I'd paid for the tickets myself I wouldn't feel so bad about doing that, but because they have already put down the money I would feel really horrible if they ended up not being able to get a refund. TL;DR I'd really rather attend the proper interview weekend for School B than attend the alternate weekend for School A, but School A has already paid for my plane tickets. I'd like to ideally be accepted to both schools (though this isn't imperative, as I've already got an offer from a really exciting program somewhere totally different, but I want to keep all my options open). Also, I don't know if this is relevant, but I've already had a half-hour phone call with two profs at School B which I assume went well (because I got the weekend invitation less than 24 hours later). Help?
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