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doctordoctor

Spouse coming to PhD interview/recruitment

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Hi All - 

My spouse wants to attend the interview weekends/recruitment events with me. I am in total support of that because they will also be moving to our new home whenever I choose a school! Should I ask the administrator about providing us a single room in hotels, or should I even tell the schools that my partner will be coming? 

 

Obviously they won't be coming to the interviews or the social events with me, but they would like to see the city that we might be moving to and meet locals. It seems silly for me to even ask the administrators these types of questions because we are full-blown adults, but I just don't know the etiquette! Any input would be extremely helpful. 

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I think you should turn down their accommodations and explain you will be coming with your partner so that they may see the city too and will book your own room accordingly. I think asking them to provide your partner with housing during your interview (while totally understandable) might come off bad you know? I could be totally off base-just my opinion.

Edited by TheDidacticStudent

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I think it is also poor taste to ask your prospective department to provide you with a single room just for you and your spouse. All of my interview accommodations included two prospectives in a room. I would agree with @TheDidacticStudent to book your own room, maybe conveying that to your point of contact and seeing if they come back by offering you a single room. Otherwise, it's a cost the school would have to pay for, and I don't think prospective students have that kind of leverage. It would be different, however, if you were a superstar professor in the process of being poached.

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FWIW, I never got put in a room with another prospective back in the dark ages when I was visiting schools. 

But my spouse did come on all my visits, and all the schools were happy to accommodate. We paid the extra in travel. That said, mine were post acceptance rather than interview, which changes the dynamic entirely to recruiting  

My spouse also got invited out to dinner with me and my POIs. At one school I did two evening dinners with POIs, and they brought spouses along as well since mine was there- they were quite happy about it, and it was a great chance for me to see a different side of them. 

How you handle this/tell the school is up to you. Some depends on your personality and read of the institution. As you mention, your spouse is moving there too. I think healthy institutions and POIs will realize that and be happy to work with you, and I honestly think it tells you a lot about how the school values work-life balance. 

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As others said, it is totally okay for your spouse to be involved in the decision. My spouse was involved in the decision. I was 100% upfront with all of my programs that the final decision on where I go is a 50/50 joint decision between my partner and I. I even mentioned this in one of the pre-admissions interviews. My spouse visited with me prior to the admission decision for all 3 Canadian grad schools in 2010 and for one of the US grad schools in 2012. 

Personally, I would not want to attend a program that thought poorly of me because my spouse was coming along. So I was not shy in asking for my spouse to visit. I believe that if you can have your spouse visit without any extra **costs** to the program, they should accommodate you two, otherwise I'd have concerns about attending that program. 

I think you should bring this up when they invite you to visit because as others said, it can affect scheduling. I would bring it up in a way that clearly states that your spouse will pay for their own expenses. But they need to know for scheduling because.... 1) some schools book the travel for the student, so they need to do this for your spouse too (you'll pay them back) and 2) knowing that it's the two of you can affect how they house you. As others said, if they typically room you with another student, you should instead ask if you can have a single room and offer to pay half of the cost (since they would pay for you anyways). Some schools have visiting students stay with other students, so you also want to bring this up early in case the host isn't willing/prepared to host two people (in this case, you might want to consider paying for a hotel at your own expense).

My spouse was included in all of the social events. At the Canadian schools, we generally visit one prospective at a time, not in a group, so my spouse had dinner with profs etc. too. The US school I visited did events in groups but they included her in all of the social events. They also prepared a small package for her with things she could do in town and information about finding work in their city etc. They also gave her a visitor's desk/office in the dept for the day in case she wanted to do work or check emails while I was in talks and interviews.

If you want specific advice on how to bring it up with each specific school, please PM me the emails you've received from the school and I can help you craft a response.

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P.S. Letting the program know about your spouse, even if they end up not going, can be really helpful too since the school can tailor your itinerary to provide you with the right resources. For the school I actually attended, my spouse didn't visit (too far away / too expensive plane flight....my spouse visited the school we could drive to). But I was able to talk to other married couples about work/life balance, having kids in grad school, and how family friendly the department/campus is in general. It turns out that our department basically invites family to every non-academic event, so that was great to know and my spouse was known by my dept profs and staff and welcomed as part of the "department family". Things like that really helped us choose where to go.

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