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glg96

Conflict with campus visit days

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Hi everyone. 

So I recently got accepted into a really great program and they emailed me notifying me of campus visits in March. The issue is that it is my boyfriend's birthday one of these days. We've never celebrated his birthday together before due to distance and we were really excited that we were finally going to be together for this birthday. I've already been to the campus before for a summer program, but I know that campus visits include more than just seeing the campus. Is this a good excuse to not go to a campus visit? What do I tell the coordinators and POI? I don't know. What do you guys think? 

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My campus visit invitation specifically says you can bring a spouse or partner if you'd like so (obviously you're responsible for paying their expenses), maybe yours also mention some information about this?

You can visit around during the day and then celebrate in the evening for example!

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29 minutes ago, minuto said:

My campus visit invitation specifically says you can bring a spouse or partner if you'd like so (obviously you're responsible for paying their expenses), maybe yours also mention some information about this?

You can visit around during the day and then celebrate in the evening for example!

Thank you for the advice. We were thinking about that too, but we're still undergrads so he would have to skip class. It's definitely something we're considering. 

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Campus visits for most programs are a lot more than just seeing the campus. Usually the faculty, staff and students have planned 1-2 full days of events, including evenings usually, just for you and the other visitors. I found that these visits really help me figure out which school to go to and what I learned about each school during the visits really changed how they ranked in my head prior to the visits. In particular, sitting down with faculty members, one-on-one, to discuss research opportunities made a huge difference. It was also helpful to be able to find out where the department is heading in the future in terms of areas of work and investing in facilities etc. And talking with the grad students directly gave me a good sense of what it would actually be like to live there, what the work environment is like, what certain profs are like.

I usually try to balance that "live in the present" and "prepare for the future" mindsets, but in this case, I think these couple of days make a huge difference in where you will be for the next 5-7 years of your life in grad school. If you can find another date to celebrate the birthday, that would be good. I personally would not bring the partner just for birthday reasons on this visit because it would be hard to spend a lot of time with your partner and also fully participate in the visit. But if your partner will be moving with you to wherever you go for grad school, then certainly bring them to have them part of the decision, but save the birthday celebrations for another day.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of visit offers already and aren't really interested in this school, you could probably skip this visit. Reading back the above paragraph, it sounds a little too strong. I simply wanted to emphasize the importance of an actual program visit not just touring/seeing the campus. Whether these things are important to you depends on your values though!

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1 hour ago, TakeruK said:

Campus visits for most programs are a lot more than just seeing the campus. Usually the faculty, staff and students have planned 1-2 full days of events, including evenings usually, just for you and the other visitors. I found that these visits really help me figure out which school to go to and what I learned about each school during the visits really changed how they ranked in my head prior to the visits. In particular, sitting down with faculty members, one-on-one, to discuss research opportunities made a huge difference. It was also helpful to be able to find out where the department is heading in the future in terms of areas of work and investing in facilities etc. And talking with the grad students directly gave me a good sense of what it would actually be like to live there, what the work environment is like, what certain profs are like.

I usually try to balance that "live in the present" and "prepare for the future" mindsets, but in this case, I think these couple of days make a huge difference in where you will be for the next 5-7 years of your life in grad school. If you can find another date to celebrate the birthday, that would be good. I personally would not bring the partner just for birthday reasons on this visit because it would be hard to spend a lot of time with your partner and also fully participate in the visit. But if your partner will be moving with you to wherever you go for grad school, then certainly bring them to have them part of the decision, but save the birthday celebrations for another day.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of visit offers already and aren't really interested in this school, you could probably skip this visit. Reading back the above paragraph, it sounds a little too strong. I simply wanted to emphasize the importance of an actual program visit not just touring/seeing the campus. Whether these things are important to you depends on your values though!

Thank you—you make some good points. 

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I had a similar conflict, and I emailed the school and let them know that I had another conflict.  Here's the email that I sent:

 

Hi <Coordinator>,

 
Thank you for your email!  I did want to ask a question.
 
I have another commitment that weekend for which travel has already been booked, and isn't refundable.  I’m sure this has happened before, so there’s probably a set way of dealing with it.  I could come a day earlier, or come another weekend, etc.
 
What’s the best way to handle this so I can still get the on-campus time I need to make a decision?
 
Thank you so much for your work on this, and your help with this issue.
 
<Name>

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Sure!  They said it would be just fine, I sent some alternate dates, and I'm now going a week before everyone else. :) 

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