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I feel a little weird because I am pretty sure I know my final decision, but I still have a visit scheduled with a different school next week. I want to be open minded of course, but am worried that I will have to put on a fake face for a few days. 

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Posted (edited)

All the wine is making me tired. Also my cheeks hurt from smiling. Also I’ve had the same conversation 200 different times. By the second day of the visit it was starting to feel a little repetitive. 

Everyone has been really nice and I’m sure they’re feeling just as tired/overwhelmed/excited/stressed/happy as I am, though. There’s a strange sense of solidarity in all this craziness. 

I’ve only had one visit but I’m 99% sure it’s my top choice. Going to try my best and keep an open mind for the remaining visits! I’m really overwhelmed by this whole process and just hoping that doesn’t translate to me looking like an asshole when I need to skip an event or take some time to myself, lol. 

Edited by trytostay

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Just now, illcounsel said:

I feel a little weird because I am pretty sure I know my final decision, but I still have a visit scheduled with a different school next week. I want to be open minded of course, but am worried that I will have to put on a fake face for a few days. 

This was me before my second visit, tbh. But because of my graduate school naïveté, and coming from a small and poorly funded state school, I decided it was best for me to take into account what I wanted to get out of a graduate program (and the surrounding city, as well). Ultimately, at the end of my second visit (South Carolina), I immediately knew which program would be best for me to develop as a scholar. It had nothing to do with the faculty or students there, in fact they were all great, but it's just a matter of fit and where I'd be happiest (despite SD's high cost of living). I think taking that visit, with an open mind, will give you reassurance in the future about your decision!

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5 minutes ago, lyonel_ said:

This was me before my second visit, tbh. But because of my graduate school naïveté, and coming from a small and poorly funded state school, I decided it was best for me to take into account what I wanted to get out of a graduate program (and the surrounding city, as well). Ultimately, at the end of my second visit (South Carolina), I immediately knew which program would be best for me to develop as a scholar. It had nothing to do with the faculty or students there, in fact they were all great, but it's just a matter of fit and where I'd be happiest (despite SD's high cost of living). I think taking that visit, with an open mind, will give you reassurance in the future about your decision!

I think that is a great way to look at it, as reassurance of your top pick. Of course, if I end up going and absolutely loving the alternate program, I won't just discount it. I am glad I have a few options that all seem good. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, illcounsel said:

I feel a little weird because I am pretty sure I know my final decision, but I still have a visit scheduled with a different school next week. I want to be open minded of course, but am worried that I will have to put on a fake face for a few days. 

I think it can be really helpful to have two data points to compare, if that helps any. 

Edit: Just realized I'm essentially echoing @lyonel_!

Edited by procrastinator1

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Even after a few days of letting the information pore into me, my visit to UCI definitely felt like a 2-day information overload that I'm still processing through. It definitely re-affirmed to me that the PhD path is what I want to do, and I can't describe just how invigorating it was to be back in a college campus again after a few months of floating around and waiting at home. The whole department was incredibly cordial and I feel as if I learned much, much more from the program on the ground than I ever could from a website. These visits really do seal the deal and it's only now that I see why people say that these visits do crystallize that final decision and make it much more clearer.

There was definitely lots of smiling involved lol, and it felt pretty overwhelming throughout. If there was one thing I wish I did, I kinda wished I let myself have the chance to de-compress for a tiny bit instead of feeling the need to attend all the things (the afternoon of the 2nd day turned my conscious into living gelatin). I can't complain too much however, all of the events were engaging from beginning to end.

Basically, can't be any happier :)

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I’m planning on making a visit to school that is paying for flights— should I fork up the money to visit a school that isn’t paying for flights, just so I have a basis of comparison with the other school at least? I’m a teacher who will be on spring break so I do have the time. 

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i feel like my experience is a little different than what i'm seeing here, so i thought i'd share.

i've only had one visit. i really studied the website and the PhD handbook, learned from someone who went ahead of the visit day, reached out to a current grad student in the program with a few spare questions i had, and grilled someone who went there for undergrad who reached out to me from here. a lot of the information relayed during the visit was something i'd already guessed because that's just grad school or stuff i'd learned already through my own anxiety-reducing research/interrogations. the two questions i asked specifically for the current grad students were about their relationship with their cohort and what their teaching loads looked like.

so the visit for me wasn't information overload at all and i quite enjoyed my time. it was only a day, though, and i wish i would've planned to have just a day to explore the city a little bit and get a feel for how my life could be outside of the program. for me, it was pretty laid back. i enjoyed my time away from work/real life. i liked the long walking tour of the campus under the warm sun. i enjoyed the conversations i had with professors as i tried to get a feel for how it'd be like to visit their office hours. i didn't spend a whole lot of time socializing or smiling too much, but that's also just me lol 

i was also reimbursed within about two weeks, which was way beyond what i expected.

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19 minutes ago, wildsurmise said:

I’m planning on making a visit to school that is paying for flights— should I fork up the money to visit a school that isn’t paying for flights, just so I have a basis of comparison with the other school at least? I’m a teacher who will be on spring break so I do have the time. 

if you have the money, i'd encourage you to go if you want to be able to compare them on equal footing. it's nearly impossible to catch the vibe or feel of the school through description or a current grad student who's being completely transparent imo.

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2 hours ago, mandelbulb said:

so the visit for me wasn't information overload at all and i quite enjoyed my time. it was only a day, though, and i wish i would've planned to have just a day to explore the city a little bit and get a feel for how my life could be outside of the program. for me, it was pretty laid back. i enjoyed my time away from work/real life. i liked the long walking tour of the campus under the warm sun. i enjoyed the conversations i had with professors as i tried to get a feel for how it'd be like to visit their office hours. i didn't spend a whole lot of time socializing or smiling too much, but that's also just me lol 

 

I've only done one visit so far, but I did really appreciate the time to just walk aimlessly around the neighborhood and on campus. Also, seconding the part about not smiling too much--I have RBF, too... oops. 

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On 3/14/2019 at 8:55 PM, mandelbulb said:

 

On 3/14/2019 at 8:31 PM, wildsurmise said:

I’m planning on making a visit to school that is paying for flights— should I fork up the money to visit a school that isn’t paying for flights, just so I have a basis of comparison with the other school at least? I’m a teacher who will be on spring break so I do have the time. 

if you have the money, i'd encourage you to go if you want to be able to compare them on equal footing. it's nearly impossible to catch the vibe or feel of the school through description or a current grad student who's being completely transparent imo

 

What do y’all think about visiting when schools don’t have set visiting days? One of the programs I’m admitted to does not have a visiting weekend.

I definitely want to go check out the city and campus, but I’m not sure how to approach the program. Should I email and ask if there’s a good time for me to visit? 

Any thoughts would be appreciated :)

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25 minutes ago, LurkersGonnaLurk said:

What do y’all think about visiting when schools don’t have set visiting days? One of the programs I’m admitted to does not have a visiting weekend.

I definitely want to go check out the city and campus, but I’m not sure how to approach the program. Should I email and ask if there’s a good time for me to visit? 

Any thoughts would be appreciated :)

I would definitely express your interest and ask to potentially meet with some grad students and faculty, if possible. Could you sit in on a class? Etc.

They should like that you’re trying to get to know the program a little more before making a decision!

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Shoutout to all of the GC folks I’ve met in real life (y’all are good people, can vouch), and also to all other prospectives who are honest about the awkwardness of “mingling,” and/or willing to make humorous comments about the overt schmoozing that goes on at these things. 

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I just got my Yale visit itinerary and I have visits scheduled with SEVEN professors, plus a couple of graduate students. This double-department PhD situation means I have a lot of reading up to do in the next 8 days 😬

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, madandmoonly said:

I’m here! I’m at Rice! Sitting outside reading some V. Woolf before things get wild in a few hours; it’s slightly chilly and I can hear the birds. I am content.

Yay! Soak it up and enjoy 😊 

Edited by kendalldinniene

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Rice's visit program was spectacular. The way they run their program is super sharp and very attentive toward the needs of 2019's job market. A big takeaway for me is that they dedicate a lot of attention to training grad students in styles/genres of academic writing other than criticism: conference proposals, book reviews, etc. But the biggest takeaway is that EVERYONE WAS SO SUPPORTIVE OF ONE ANOTHER. If you had told me that a graduate program could be so tight-knit, I would not have believed you.

Some takeaways for you all:

  • Really ask what a department's professionalization philosophy is. What is the theory behind their "Intro to graduate studies" course, if they have one? And if they don't, why not?? How do they intend to make sure graduate students aren't teaching themselves how to apply to conferences in the fourth and fifth years, when it's too late?
  • Think about the distinction between "guaranteed teaching" and "required teaching" — what is the quality of the teaching experience you'll get, not just the quantity? i.e. does the department view teaching as an opportunity for you, or a way for them to make sure all of the discussion sections get taught?
  • Ask about the relationship between mentors and advisees: Do the department's most well-known (and/or most ego-driven) professors allow students to latch remora-like onto them and produce methodologically identical work? (Spoiler: this kind of mentorship model often does not yield exciting job applicants)
  • Try to have dinner/drinks with groups of graduate students and see how they interact with one another. Is this an environment where you feel at home?

I'm not gonna lie, Rice really blew me away on all of these fronts and more. I'm going to enjoy asking Yale to compete with them next week.

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Just returned from the visit to a school I had booked before I was accepted to my top choice MA. It ended up being a really wonderful experience! I was nervous having conversations with POI's knowing that I would probably not accept the offer. However, I reframed these conversations to be less about asking specific program questions and more about their current research interests and what is exciting them at the moment. This led to fun and informative talks, a lowkey kind of networking. I post this just in case anyone is a similar situation to me. 

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