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Interacting with POIs on Visiting Day


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Do you have to have read everything they've written?

I hope you aren't visiting more than one school ;)

Honestly, I go a bit overboard, but I will read a well-known piece (if this is apparent), a recent piece, and anything that intersects my interests.

For me, it's all about getting a sense of their approach to scholarship and their writing style. Thus, it's not so much to say that I've read their work (which is important) as it is to get a feel for MY interest in working with that person and to get a sense of whether I could really benefit from working with that person. Can this person support you intellectually? Can they help you to improve your writing?

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For most of my POIs, I'd say I've read between 30-75% of the relevant works they have written, but certainly not EVERYTHING. Do I need to catch up?

 

ETA: By relevant, I mean relevant to my research interests.

Edited by sebastiansteddy
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What about sitting in on classes? Will we be expected to participate or just observe?!?! I haven't been a student in three years! 

 

When I was deciding on MA programs, I just observed. But this time, I might e-mail the professors of the classes I am sitting in on and asking what text(s) they'd be discussing that day so I can read them ahead of time. Is that excessive though?

 

ETA: Even if I do read the materials ahead of time, I still wouldn't participate in discussion. I haven't been there all semester like the others, and they will have established themes in their points of discussion... it seems unfair to chirp in all of a sudden after they have worked hard to establish an arc to seminar discussion.

Edited by sebastiansteddy
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When I was deciding on MA programs, I just observed. But this time, I might e-mail the professors of the classes I am sitting in on and asking what text(s) they'd be discussing that day so I can read them ahead of time. Is that excessive though?

 

ETA: Even if I do read the materials ahead of time, I still wouldn't participate in discussion. I haven't been there all semester like the others, and they will have established themes in their points of discussion... it seems unfair to chirp in all of a sudden after they have worked hard to establish an arc to seminar discussion.

Thank you. This is exactly what I was hoping someone would say! I have to remind myself that I am already in, so visit day is not an audition! If anything, it's the campus' chance to audition for my affections. 

 

... Right?

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Thank you. This is exactly what I was hoping someone would say! I have to remind myself that I am already in, so visit day is not an audition! If anything, it's the campus' chance to audition for my affections. 

 

... Right?

 

Yes... BUT...

 

First impressions ARE important.

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Please no one contribute to discussions in classes you're sitting in on. You'll look like a pretentious asshole to the current students (I witnessed an admitted student doing this last year), and I highly doubt you will impress the professor either.

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For most of my POIs, I'd say I've read between 30-75% of the relevant works they have written, but certainly not EVERYTHING. Do I need to catch up?

 

ETA: By relevant, I mean relevant to my research interests.

 

Yikes.  I would have loved to have read work by POIs, but I must admit that I've read nothing.  Am I screwed?  I'm a waitlisted applicant, not an acceptee, so should I be concerned?

 

Thank you. This is exactly what I was hoping someone would say! I have to remind myself that I am already in, so visit day is not an audition! If anything, it's the campus' chance to audition for my affections. 

 

... Right?

 

UNC's an audition for me. :unsure:  I'm so excited for the visit weekend, but I'm terribly scared.  I really need to make a solid impression.

 

ETA: I have no idea how UNC does their visit weekend, but if I'm able to sit in on classes, I absolutely am not going to contribute to the in-class discussions (unless specifically asked a question or something, of course).  I agree with the above poster's response to this matter.

Edited by Two Espressos
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Yikes.  I would have loved to have read work by POIs, but I must admit that I've read nothing.  Am I screwed?  I'm a waitlisted applicant, not an acceptee, so should I be concerned?

 

 

UNC's an audition for me. :unsure:  I'm so excited for the visit weekend, but I'm terribly scared.  I really need to make a solid impression.

 

I have confidence that you will be fine. I'm not going to say be yourself, if by being yourself entails nudity. But be as close to your normal state of being as possible without actually being arrested.

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Yes... BUT...

 

First impressions ARE important.

Yes, of course! I'm not going to audibly fart, then blame it on a professor or anything like that. I'm shooting for friendly and professional, but reminding myself that I don't have to be brilliant in each conversation.

 

 

Please no one contribute to discussions in classes you're sitting in on. You'll look like a pretentious asshole to the current students (I witnessed an admitted student doing this last year), and I highly doubt you will impress the professor either.

That's what I was thinking. Glad to have you confirm it!

 

 

ETA: I have no idea how UNC does their visit weekend, but if I'm able to sit in on classes, I absolutely am not going to contribute to the in-class discussions (unless specifically asked a question or something, of course).  I agree with the above poster's response to this matter.

If you behave in person the way you do on GradCafe, I know you'll be great! My impression is that you are confident (but not cocky), considerate, and committed to academia-- those are the qualities I imagine UNC is looking for! 

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Please no one contribute to discussions in classes you're sitting in on. You'll look like a pretentious asshole to the current students (I witnessed an admitted student doing this last year), and I highly doubt you will impress the professor either.

 

This is the more direct version of what I was trying to say.

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Please no one contribute to discussions in classes you're sitting in on. You'll look like a pretentious asshole to the current students (I witnessed an admitted student doing this last year), and I highly doubt you will impress the professor either.

You can just admit it was you. So what did you say?

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Yikes.  I would have loved to have read work by POIs, but I must admit that I've read nothing.  Am I screwed? 

 

You might want to read some articles or something before you go to visit.

 

But... if you haven't read anything your POIs have written, how do you know they are "of interest" to you?

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You might want to read some articles or something before you go to visit.

 

But... if you haven't read anything your POIs have written, how do you know they are "of interest" to you?

 

Mainly looking at their listed research interests on websites and on occasion scouring CVs.  I know I should have read some work by these people, but last semester was hellish for me.

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Mainly looking at their listed research interests on websites and on occasion scouring CVs.  I know I should have read some work by these people, but last semester was hellish for me.

 

Well all the power to you! But before your visiting day, I'd recommend reading at least something (an article at least) your POIs have written. 

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Well all the power to you! But before your visiting day, I'd recommend reading at least something (an article at least) your POIs have written. 

 

My spring break precedes the UNC Open House, so I'll have plenty of time to catch up on some reading.  Thanks for the advice!

Edited by Two Espressos
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When I was deciding on MA programs, I just observed. But this time, I might e-mail the professors of the classes I am sitting in on and asking what text(s) they'd be discussing that day so I can read them ahead of time. Is that excessive though?

 

ETA: Even if I do read the materials ahead of time, I still wouldn't participate in discussion. I haven't been there all semester like the others, and they will have established themes in their points of discussion... it seems unfair to chirp in all of a sudden after they have worked hard to establish an arc to seminar discussion.

I actually love this idea. Like you, I have no plans on participating, but I think the observation will be more engaging and entertaining for me if I can follow the conversation. 

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To be perfectly honest, I don't think POIs care all that much whether or not you've read their work.  When I went to the prospective student weekend at UNC last spring, I met, mingled, and chatted with a number of professors both in my field and outside of it.  I found myself having interesting conversations with two POIs about the field, but their own work never came up.  If it did at all, it was usually a passing mention of things they are currently working on, rather than what they've read.  I think, in general, faculty want to see that you are well-versed in the field rather than reading up on them, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.  :)

 

PS sebastiansteddy, I read Brideshead Revisited for the first time yesterday and now it aaaaaaall makes sense. ;)

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In the event of uncomfortable silence whilst talking with a POI, I advise the following:

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4krnqXotL1roilnu.gif

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4krmy0Jiq1roilnu.gif

I'm out of up votes, but this is great!

I'm not so good at bringing up the work of professors in conversation with them, because it often feels like brown-nosing to me. How do you bring up someone's work without sounding like a tool?

I imagine if I go to visiting days this will be how I am received:

tumblr_inline_mhgu39M6xO1qz4rgp.gif

Edited by asleepawake
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