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Anything particular to note when it comes to campus visits?


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Hey all! 

I'm about to pack my bags and head to three campus visits in late February/March, and although I'm feeling super lucky and excited, I'm already really, really torn between the programs (to the point that it's keeping me up at night). Thankfully, my programs have been pretty transparent with placement, funding, etc. and they're all a good academic fit and similarly ranked (great schools for my goals, and the differences are incredibly marginal). They're also all in vastly different environments, which I definitely plan to keep in mind. Everybody has told me that visits will really solidify fit/environment, and the decision would be pretty clear after making the visits. 

With this being said, are there any certain departmental quirks that you all are planning to look out for, or found important while doing your campus visits, beyond the city/administrative details such as funding and placement? Anything hit you as a red flag? Green flag? Any stories or specific notes you took while meeting with cohorts?

I know it's just my nerves talking and over questioning, but feel free to commiserate with me as we plan for campus visits! :)

Edited by madamoiselle
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I have been on one out of three campus visits for this semester so far. I would say try to speak to as many faculty members and graduate students as you can. See if the grad students are happy and make sure that there are multiple faculty members that interest you. Also if you can, take a walk around the campus and the nearby areas to get a feel for the city/environment itself. I had a great time speaking with the other prospective students but I wish I had spent more time with the faculty and exploring the area.  Good luck and have fun! 

Edited by strawberrykat
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A department with helpful admins is worth its weight in gold. Seriously. Talk to the admin one-on-one if you can as they're the ones who can save your behind when it comes to things like paperwork and TA scheduling. (Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...)

Similarly, look for the unspoken. Is there a cohort that's totally AWOL in your visit? Is it clear that people are shying away from a particular professor? Are there rumors about 2+ dreadful but required courses? Do the faculty seem to get along with one another? (Ask grad students about who is on their committee and what setting that up was like if you want to get a sense of where some of the internal conflict in a department might be.)

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