Jump to content

Pre-application visiting protocol

Recommended Posts

I plan to travel this summer through some regions where some of my favorite graduate schools are, so I was thinking of also making a formal visit to their chemistry departments and talk to some professors I am potentially interested in working with. Has anyone had any experience with talking to professors at this stage? What usually goes on during such interviews? Do they talk about their research all the time or they also ask you about your background? And what kind of preparation should I do for this kind of interviews? How much are you supposed to know about those professors' research? I feel like if I read too much, maybe I won't have any genuine questions and I don't know what I could talk to them about, but if I don't read enough I may come out as not really interested. What is a good balance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did this at one school.

Two main differences, IMO. First, they aren't yet trying to court you yet. Second, they aren't as familiar with you.

Other than that, my visits were pretty much the same format. What got added on in post-acceptance visits was nice meals and a bit of wining and dining, as well as a longer visit.

The actual meetings during the day were almost identical for me, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Notes on introducing: I'm in a different field (history) and I have no idea if what I did was right or wrong. That said...

Last month a road trip happened to take me through the areas of all four of my top choices, so I decided to stop in and speak with professors I hope to study with. I emailed them first and scheduled meetings. Before hand I did a lot of research on the schools, the programs, and the professors work to make sure that I was talking to who I'd really like to meet. I also thought about what I'd want to know, so I would have some intelligent questions to ask about the program and the school.

I ended up meeting with two professors who were POI for me. Each talk ran about a half hour. I asked questions about the programs and what they were looking for in prospective students; they both asked me a LOT of questions about my background, my research interests, etc.

My experience was mixed - I got the sense that I impressed with my level of preparedness about their programs, but because I'm not yet that focused in terms of my research interests I got the sense that I did not do well in that regard.

So, I guess based on my experience...I was glad I had these meetings. I got a much better sense of what these programs were looking for and how I could be a well qualified applicant, and also some important areas where I had to strengthen my preparation.

Good luck!

Edited by unforth
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I last posted here, I contacted the schools and I had the unpleasant surprise to not hear back at all from one school. No professor replied, nor the department coordinator. I am a little disappointed in the school, if they don't like students to visit, they could at least shoot me an email to say so. Anyway, I will still be in the area and I will still show up and ask some student I know there to show me around. My question now is: how to make the most of a visit to a prospective grad school without talking to any professor?

Link to comment
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.