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Visiting a campus while application is still pending


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A grad program that admitted me is flying me up to visit in a few weeks. Because I live far away and will likely not be in the area again, it seems logical to extend the trip and visit other nearby schools to which I've applied. But I haven't heard back from those schools yet, and according to the results board from last year, I won't know until quite a bit later. So my question is: Is it in bad taste to visit a school before I've been admitted? I was under the impression that visiting before you apply is OK, as is visiting after you're admitted...but not now. If it is OK to visit, what's the protocol for this? Lurk around on my own, or can I email the grad director or a current student and meet with somebody? Or maybe those schools have their own recruitment events later on and would pay for me to attend if I got in....I have no idea. so hard to plan! Can anyone share their own experience with this?

Edited by bck203
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It's likely that you will know by then whether you are into this other program - almost all decisions will be in by early to mid-March. If you are rejected, it will have been a total waste to visit the other school. If you do get in then, many (I might say most?) programs do have recruitment days that they will at least partially pay for you to attend. And the value of going to a recruitment weekend where they have events, talks, meetings, courses to sit in on, etc. designed just for you, and for recruiting you and showing you everything they can about the program, versus going on your own when you are still just an applicant, is not even comparable.

Basically, it can be valuable to visit before applying because then you can gauge whether the program is a good fit for you, things you like or don't like, and thus decide to apply or not, and tailor your application accordingly. After you're admitted, the visit is also helpful for making a decision about attending. But in this period, your applications are in, and THEY are the ones deciding. So going on a trip now seems like it could be a waste of time, because at this point you don't have any decisions to make that the trip would be helping with.

Unless you end up waitlisted. That's a whole other ball of wax. But deal with the info you have as you get it - I vote wait.

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It's likely that you will know by then whether you are into this other program - almost all decisions will be in by early to mid-March. If you are rejected, it will have been a total waste to visit the other school. If you do get in then, many (I might say most?) programs do have recruitment days that they will at least partially pay for you to attend. And the value of going to a recruitment weekend where they have events, talks, meetings, courses to sit in on, etc. designed just for you, and for recruiting you and showing you everything they can about the program, versus going on your own when you are still just an applicant, is not even comparable.

Basically, it can be valuable to visit before applying because then you can gauge whether the program is a good fit for you, things you like or don't like, and thus decide to apply or not, and tailor your application accordingly. After you're admitted, the visit is also helpful for making a decision about attending. But in this period, your applications are in, and THEY are the ones deciding. So going on a trip now seems like it could be a waste of time, because at this point you don't have any decisions to make that the trip would be helping with.

Unless you end up waitlisted. That's a whole other ball of wax. But deal with the info you have as you get it - I vote wait.

Thanks! I think you are right. I didn't know that many/most schools have recruitment events...that's good to hear.

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