Jump to content

Recruitment Event Advice


Recommended Posts

Hi, I am on a waitlist and am invited for the visitation weekend. I am pretty high on the waitilist according to the DGS and the school is my top choice. DO you guys have any advice for me on what to do during the visitation?

I'd suggest trying to accomplish a few different things. Usual disclaimer - it is possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about. :)

1 - You want them to know that if they offer you the spot, you'll take it without a second thought. If you have other offers, obviously be judicious about it, but don't be overly modest. When you correspond with faculty you'd like to work with, let them know that you have other offers, but that School X is your preferred choice (for reasons a, b, and c). All the other advice on this thread applies - be cordial, enthusiastic, and do your best to make yourself seem like an excellent addition to the program personally and professionally.

2 - I would guess that at this point your academic credentials are not going to help much - you will probably have better luck if you get the attention of a couple of professors. You want one or two people to say "I want rogerfed! S/he will be extremely useful to my project on Issue X - we've already discussed it!" in the departmental meeting if any spots open up from the waitlist. So get up to date on what they're working on, and spend some time preparing some thoughts on how your research interests and theirs align. Try to get a hold of some working papers. Email the professors before the event to get a better sense of what they're working on today and for the next couple of years.

3 - Kind of a synthesis of 1 and 2: if a school is able to take students off the waitlist, they will probably go with candidates who intrigue them and who seem like a great fit. Intrigue them with your ideas, your particular spin on your field of interest. Show them you can be a great fit by speaking capably about the issues that are of interest to your target professors, by asking questions about the program that indicate you know what graduate school really will be like and that you have what it takes to make your way through it. I'd say you want everyone who could possibly be involved in the decision to know who you are, remember you as friendly, enthusiastic, interesting, and intelligent. You also want your desired advisor(s) to be able to field questions about you, your qualifications, and your interests should they come.

That's all I got. Hope it's helpful.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

This is based on experience from six rushes. Any example or issue I raise is from an actual event. (1) Don't be a jerk. I can tell you this because I am, in fact, a jerk. (2) Business casual i

Hi all! I'm an Associate Professor at a top-20 R1. The single best piece of advice I can give you about how to approach your visit day (and how to approach the decision-making process more generally

Bump.

I'd suggest trying to accomplish a few different things. Usual disclaimer - it is possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about. :)

1 - You want them to know that if they offer you the spot, you'll take it without a second thought. If you have other offers, obviously be judicious about it, but don't be overly modest. When you correspond with faculty you'd like to work with, let them know that you have other offers, but that School X is your preferred choice (for reasons a, b, and c). All the other advice on this thread applies - be cordial, enthusiastic, and do your best to make yourself seem like an excellent addition to the program personally and professionally.

2 - I would guess that at this point your academic credentials are not going to help much - you will probably have better luck if you get the attention of a couple of professors. You want one or two people to say "I want rogerfed! S/he will be extremely useful to my project on Issue X - we've already discussed it!" in the departmental meeting if any spots open up from the waitlist. So get up to date on what they're working on, and spend some time preparing some thoughts on how your research interests and theirs align. Try to get a hold of some working papers. Email the professors before the event to get a better sense of what they're working on today and for the next couple of years.

3 - Kind of a synthesis of 1 and 2: if a school is able to take students off the waitlist, they will probably go with candidates who intrigue them and who seem like a great fit. Intrigue them with your ideas, your particular spin on your field of interest. Show them you can be a great fit by speaking capably about the issues that are of interest to your target professors, by asking questions about the program that indicate you know what graduate school really will be like and that you have what it takes to make your way through it. I'd say you want everyone who could possibly be involved in the decision to know who you are, remember you as friendly, enthusiastic, interesting, and intelligent. You also want your desired advisor(s) to be able to field questions about you, your qualifications, and your interests should they come.

That's all I got. Hope it's helpful.

This is great saltlake. Appreciate it
Link to post
Share on other sites

I know its a lame question, but...

...is it considered immoral to attend a visit day somewhere, that you re 100% not to attend (in order to get financial help to pay for flights elsewhere?

Immoral maybe, but heck I'd do it. The amount of money that you get may make a difference for you, but I think it's pretty much pocket change for large universities. It's never a bad thing to familiarize yourself with leading professors and to get your name out there and to establish connections with the next generation of young scholars. I do feel you would have an obligation to attend the full program; don't mimic MEPs by arriving at Strasbourg to clock in, collect your allowance, and depart on the first plane out. And who knows, you might become so smitten by the department, professors, fellow students and the location that you do change your mind ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm having a similar/different question for my upcoming campus visit (it's a recruitment weekend for admitted students). Both of the 2 professors who are highest on my list of people to work with have been at the institution for 6 years at the end of this year. I would really like to know if they are tenured -- the review process has be to happening this year right? -- and if they plan to stay at the university. Is there a good way to ask this?

So far, i'm thinking about asking leading questions like "is the department planning to expand in {the prof's area of interest}."

Thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Just ask? Tenure isn't that awkward to ask about. As far as staying... a bit more awkward, but they'll understand. Just say, "And how do you like working here? See yourself staying for a while?"

Of course nobody can assure you 100 percent that they're staying. If they get a job offer from Harvard, they'll consider leaving. But yea, I'd just ask.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

This is based on experience from six rushes. Any example or issue I raise is from an actual event.

(1) Don't be a jerk. I can tell you this because I am, in fact, a jerk.

(2) Business casual is fine. If you want to add a blazer to your shirt and slacks, that's cool, but don't be a jerk about it. No shiny Ed Hardy shirts.

(3) Ask if you can sit in a class or two. If you do, don't be a jerk in class. You're there to observe, not to interrupt. If the professor asks you a question or something, go ahead and participate, but don't be a jerk about it.

An example on (3). Last year, we had a guy sit in our (highly technical) dynamic modeling class. He happened to sit in the dryest, hardest lecture of the year. So the professor proves a theorem on the board that has us all panting and trembling, and he writes out "for all" on the board in doing so. During break, the prospective student rocks up to the professor and is alike "Hey, why did you write out 'for all' instead of using the upside-down A? That would have been more rigorous.'" Don't be like that. That's jerky.

(4) If you are a jerk when you are drunk, then do not drink too much. If you are fun when you are drunk (but not a fun jerk---there are fun jerks out there), wait until the faculty are gone and then rock the f**k out.

(5) You can ask professors if they're happy at Department X, but don't be a jerk about it. Don't ask if they have a mortgage or anything. That's jerky. If they're unhappy, they'll say so in code. Don't press.

(6) Don't be a jerk on academic grounds. Don't talk down to people. Don't tell people they *need* to read a paper or a book. Don't talk about your own research unless asked. Don't say you published unless it's a real journal. Like, a real journal.

(7) Ask the students the hard questions, but don't be a jerk about it. Ask about their research to get a sense of the training. Don't feign being impressed, but don't get too critical. Ask what they're happy about, what they're unhappy about. Be discriminating-seeming but not critical.

(8) Don't be a jerk about other schools you're considering. Not everything you see at Department X reminds you of something you might see on your pending visit at Department Y. You don't have to rattle off your list all the live-long day; that's jerky. You came to visit and learn more about Department X, so stick to that.

(9) Don't be a jerk about stipends just yet. If you want to ask for more, visit day isn't the day to do it. That's really jerky.

(10) Don't be a jerk with the other visitors. Don't probe them constantly. Don't seem indifferent. If you go to Department X, then these people will be your all-nighter buddies during problem sets; your comp stress empathizers; your idea-bouncers. Don't get that off on the wrong foot.

(11) Seem like somebody that faculty and grad students will want to work with. The best way to do that is to avoid being a jerk.

And no, your offer won't be revoked if you're a jerk. But impressions matter. They matter with potential advisors, with other grad cohortmates you might coauthor with, with older grad students that might offer well-timed advice. You may think you've made it (and you have, and your achievements should be celebrated), but you'll be a lowly first-year soon enough. It's going to be a lot of fun, and you might as well get the experience off on the right foot.

 

 

Bump.

Edited by TakeMyCoffeeBlack
Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone explain to me in general what the formal program of these events in general looks like? I was a little surprised when I heard that UC Davis's event spanned portions of three days (Late Wednesday, all day Thursday, early Friday). My vision of these events before that was of a 3 or 4 hour meet-and-greet, lunch, and short presentation, followed maybe by a short tour. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone explain to me in general what the formal program of these events in general looks like? I was a little surprised when I heard that UC Davis's event spanned portions of three days (Late Wednesday, all day Thursday, early Friday). My vision of these events before that was of a 3 or 4 hour meet-and-greet, lunch, and short presentation, followed maybe by a short tour. 

 

My guess is that everyone will roll in Wednesday night and there will be a happy hour and a dinner either with the faculty or grad students. The guts of Thursday will be 1-on-1 meetings with faculty you might be interested in working with. They will try to get everyone scheduled for 3 or 4 of those, plus there will be some other things like a campus tour or presentations by different research centers to show off the resources of the department with another dinner with either faculty or grad students (whomever you didn't have dinner with the night before). Friday morning there will be some coffee and bagels and a few final 1-on-1 meetings that couldn't be fit into the previous day and everyone will filter out by lunch. My experience as an admit was that most places tended to have a 2 day program that either ran 2 full days or was spread out as night, full day, morning. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It varies a bit by school, though the basic structure is generally the one outlined above.  Some schools have more structured programming (e.g. the comparativists each give a brief presentation on what they do, then the Americanists, and so on) than others.  Others are pretty much a free-for-all:  for example, at one of my rushes long ago, one of the recruiting coordinators declared that "the city is as big of a part of the pitch as anything, so go out and explore!"  So then one goes out and explores for a few hours, and hopefully at the end of the exploration one is sober enough to make it back for a nice dinner.  MADISON IS A REALLY FUN PLACE IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY OK

 

In general, though, you can at the very least expect some one-on-ones with faculty of interest, some dinners with mingling, and some time spent with the grad students.
 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Expanding on choachrjc's theme, don't be a jerk to your hosts. If you're going to a visit where you'll be staying with current students, you should make sure to communicate with them when you plan on arriving/departing and remember that they are probably busy studying for comps, preparing lesson plans, or getting ready for the next conference. I'm sure they're excited to host and they have a wealth of information to share, so try to start off on the right foot with them.

Edited by adaptations
Link to post
Share on other sites

I basically agree with everything that's been said here, but to add a few things:

 

1) Don't be afraid of visiting at times other than the planned visit. Sometimes because you're traveling to schools far away or because you can only take so much time away from work/school/etc., it's convenient to hit up multiple schools on the same visit.  Schools are used to this and should be able to set you up with accommodations and faculty meetings.  It can be a little harder to talk with grad students or sit in on classes during those visits, but you should make an effort to do so anyway. If there's something or someone in particular, ask for/about it.  The department wants you to come.

 

2) Talk to grad students. Because the dept schedules 1-on-1 time with professors, it can feel like that's the most important part of your visit.  But you're going to spend a lot more time with other students (esp. those in younger cohorts) than the faculty, so you should make sure you feel like you'll fit in. Ask about money (but try not to be a jerk about it). Are they taking out loans? Do they have a lifestyle that would be acceptable to you?  

 

3) Talk about the department culture with respect to student research. Are students up to their own thing? Is it a mentoring system, where you're (officially or unofficially) attached to one or two faculty members?

 

4) Talk about grad student research productivity.  If you have the choice between two comparably ranked departments, but one has a culture of grad students publishing, go there. It'll help you get a job.

 

5) Ask about teaching.  Especially at top programs, there are huge differences in the amount of teaching assistant work you'll have to do. Esp. if you want to end up at a research university, you need to have time to do research.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

In regards to the 1-on-1 with Professors, what is discussed during that time? I suck at interviews (something I desperately have to work on), so I am naturally freaking out about sitting in a room with an expert in my area.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In regards to the 1-on-1 with Professors, what is discussed during that time? I suck at interviews (something I desperately have to work on), so I am naturally freaking out about sitting in a room with an expert in my area.

 

You ask them about their research, their relationship with students, culture of the department, etc.  You share details about yourself like what your academic background and research interests are in the interest of eliciting responses that might inform you about whether you're a good fit with that prof or the dept.  They'll also tell you about new people coming and going from the dept., recent students that had interests similar to yours and where they ended up, etc.  This is not their first time doing this, so they'll lead the discussion (unless they're extremely socially awkward, which is somewhat rare.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also seek out and talk to advanced grad students. Most recruitment events are overpopulated by us first-years. We can tell you a lot about what the first seven months of grad school are like and some general things about the department, but advanced students will be able to give a much more complete picture of comps, starting and funding your research, faculty advising, etc. I'm not saying be a jerk and brush off first-years, of course, but just know that our experience is only one particular window into the overall experience.

Edited by CGMJ
Link to post
Share on other sites

Should you bring a gift for your hosts, as a thank you?  And, if so, what would you recommend?

 

 

That would certainly be very nice but not expected in any way (at least not by me or others I know). Just be a considerate house guest, as I'm sure you would be anyway!

 

 

Lies.

 

Whiskey. Rye. I might even share with you.

 

Be a good houseguest, and bring something small and reasonable! A bottle of wine (or bourbon, if you're me) is appropriate, but I have brought pans of cinnamon rolls/other baked goods, wine, something small from the area I live in or am from, etc. Perishables that are likely to be enjoyed are best. And be gracious. Really, most of all, be gracious :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Drink within your limits. Talk to grad students. Ask questions that you really want the answers to. After official recruitment events (esp. On a Friday or Saturday), ask grad students what they would normal do next and tag if they invite you! Ask about cost/ quality of life. Ask about health services. . . checkout the university health center and gym if you have the time. If you think you are going to go there... collect facebook friends and ask them questions ...the & department secretary are not your best resources for small details like where to live and how much rent is and what bars you should go to but things matter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.