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Preview day vs. Admitted Student day


tdix09
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Are these two different days/weekends? Or do universities use them interchangeably?

 

When you attend one, is that the chance for you to be wooed into accepting their admission? Just making sure I'm clear as I'm researching.

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I'm not 100% sure but I think they are basically the same idea, just different names depending on what school your are looking at. My impression is that it's a weekend long event for admitted or candidate students and mostly wooing, meeting the faculty, seeing other student's research, etc will occur. But also interviews take place (either admissions interviews and/or assistantship/internship interviews depending on how the school structures theirs), so I'm kind of just referring to all of these weekends as "interview weekends" since to me that will be the most important part.

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My experience was those terms were used interchangeably.  Although when I applied to master's program, usually you were not yet admitted when you were invited to visit campus. (For my doctoral admission cycle, it was the exact opposite where I was admitted first and then invited to campus.) Typically you do a series of interviews (~8 - 10) over a couple of days to secure an assistantship and convince the faculty that you would be a good addition to the program.  Be prepared to be gone multiple weekends in a row from late February - early April.  It can be kinda exhausting!

 

When you attend one, is that the chance for you to be wooed into accepting their admission? Just making sure I'm clear as I'm researching.

 

  Do you mean being asked to accept on the spot?   I haven't heard of that happening.  What is more typical is your assistantship offer from the earlier schools that you visited may only be good for x amount of weeks, but will expire before you have a chance to visit some of your top choices.  Then you either have to make a difficult decision or see if the school can extend the timeline.  This can get a bit stressful unfortunately.

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My experience was those terms were used interchangeably.  Although when I applied to master's program, usually you were not yet admitted when you were invited to visit campus. (For my doctoral admission cycle, it was the exact opposite where I was admitted first and then invited to campus.) Typically you do a series of interviews (~8 - 10) over a couple of days to secure an assistantship and convince the faculty that you would be a good addition to the program.  Be prepared to be gone multiple weekends in a row from late February - early April.  It can be kinda exhausting!

 

 

  Do you mean being asked to accept on the spot?   I haven't heard of that happening.  What is more typical is your assistantship offer from the earlier schools that you visited may only be good for x amount of weeks, but will expire before you have a chance to visit some of your top choices.  Then you either have to make a difficult decision or see if the school can extend the timeline.  This can get a bit stressful unfortunately.

 

What Master's programs did you apply for? I know for two of mine they said that you'd already be admitted to the program when you attend (MSU and U of M). I think UConn's is an actual admissions interview (so you're just a "candidate" for admission when you attend). I know USC has a similar event, don't quite know how they opperate though. I don't know if Seattle U does or not. And that's my rough list of schools.

 

What was the policy for the programs you applied to if you accepted a school's offer, but then continued to attend other preview events and later on decided to accept a different schools offer? Was that simply something that they discouraged you from doing, but also couldn't really control? Or did you have to agree to not attend other schools preview events?

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What Master's programs did you apply for? I know for two of mine they said that you'd already be admitted to the program when you attend (MSU and U of M). I think UConn's is an actual admissions interview (so you're just a "candidate" for admission when you attend). I know USC has a similar event, don't quite know how they opperate though. I don't know if Seattle U does or not. And that's my rough list of schools.

 

What was the policy for the programs you applied to if you accepted a school's offer, but then continued to attend other preview events and later on decided to accept a different schools offer? Was that simply something that they discouraged you from doing, but also couldn't really control? Or did you have to agree to not attend other schools preview events?

 

I'll PM you with the schools that I applied to for my master's program.  Although that was almost a decade ago (yikes!) so admission policies and procedures may have changed.

 

When I was applying, once you accepted the assistantship offer, you have de facto accepted the admissions offer.  The schools were fairly clear on this- that is why it is important to get extensions from programs if you can't make a decision concerning assistantship offers which tend to have shorter time tables than the standard April 15 deadline for admission offers.  Most people (that I knew anyways) waited until they attended all their preview events and saw their assistantship offers to make a decision.  The only people I know that accepted w/o knowing their financial support from the program were people who only applied to one program or were self funding their degree.

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Do you mean being asked to accept on the spot?   I haven't heard of that happening.  What is more typical is your assistantship offer from the earlier schools that you visited may only be good for x amount of weeks, but will expire before you have a chance to visit some of your top choices.  Then you either have to make a difficult decision or see if the school can extend the timeline.  This can get a bit stressful unfortunately.

 

That I understand. Let me clarify: is the Preview Weekend the chance for the program to convince/wine-and-dine us into choosing them as much as it is for us to convince them to hire us into an assistantship? At that point (specifically for U of M and MSU, schools I am also applying to like JBums, and at UPenn) they've already admitted me, so worst case scenario is:

 

a. I'm not impressed and I decide not to attend

b. I'm impressed but don't get accepted for any assistantships

 

On another note, should you mention other programs you are applying to during this weekend? I wouldn't voluntarily give this info up, but do faculty/staff ask in conversation, or in the application somewhere? I bet some schools want to know what theyre competing with.

 

Lastly, is it logical to think that programs accept the desired # of candidates they want for their cohort (with a waitlist to fill spaces where candidates drop off) and have enough assistantships for each candidate to be placed in one? I get really nervous about, you know, not getting one. I imagine if you are accepted into a program, you are probably qualified/a good fit for at least one on campus.

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That I understand. Let me clarify: is the Preview Weekend the chance for the program to convince/wine-and-dine us into choosing them as much as it is for us to convince them to hire us into an assistantship?

I am not sure if I would call it "wining-and-dining" as that makes me think of super fancy, Executive MBA programs - but I think preview weekends are a good opportunity to learn more about the program and talk with faculty and current students.  There is definitely some recruitment element to the weekend as programs need students to continue functioning, but I was always impressed by how honest everyone was about the strengths and weaknesses of the programs.  Added bonus of the preview weekend is that you get to meet your potential classmates.

 

 

At that point (specifically for U of M and MSU, schools I am also applying to like JBums, and at UPenn) they've already admitted me, so worst case scenario is:

 

a. I'm not impressed and I decide not to attend

b. I'm impressed but don't get accepted for any assistantships

You are honestly going to hope for a. if you get accepted to multiple programs because you are going to need to find some way to narrow the list.  b. definitely happens but it is unclear how frequently.  Most people will elect not to come if they can't secure an assistantship because of: (1) the high cost of these programs to completely self fund in a low paying field and (2) not building the necessary experience in the field to secure a job once you graduate. 

 

I won't worry about b. so much.  I think what tends to happen is people don't get their top choice of assistantships rather than them not securing any position at all.  You can debate which one is more important (program fit v. assistantship fit) when deciding where to go, but it is really hard to say.  Personally, I had better program fit than assistantship fit in the school that I selected for my master's degree.  It worked out for me as I was able to secure a job after graduation in a higher ed area different from the one that I did my assistantship in (thankfully!).

 

On another note, should you mention other programs you are applying to during this weekend? I wouldn't voluntarily give this info up, but do faculty/staff ask in conversation, or in the application somewhere? I bet some schools want to know what theyre competing with.

 

Typically they ask it in the application and faculty, current students, and even your fellow preview goers may ask you during the weekend because people are curious -and/or- they may be trying to gauge your interest in their school.  I would share what you feel comfortable with.  It's expected that prospective students are looking at other programs.  Even if you don't disclose, there are various services now that can track where admitted students went that declined their offers so it's not a big secret.  Schools know who they are competing with thanks to advancements in enrollment management.

 

Lastly, is it logical to think that programs accept the desired # of candidates they want for their cohort (with a waitlist to fill spaces where candidates drop off) and have enough assistantships for each candidate to be placed in one? I get really nervous about, you know, not getting one. I imagine if you are accepted into a program, you are probably qualified/a good fit for at least one on campus.

 

I would say it varies. Some programs only accept the number of students that they have spots to fund.  (This is sorta atypical on the master's level.  Instead, this is more typical at the PhD level because generally you are guaranteeing support for multiple number of years which can get fairly expensive and students are working directly with faculty members.)  

 

I think what is more typical and you can go through back posts on this forum to see how this plays out is that the program admits a certain number of students based on how many people have accepted in the past and the program provides help for students to secure assistantships by streamlining the interviewing process but ultimately who gets offered positions is up to the hiring manager in the office with the assistantship. Thus, the admission decision and the assistantship decision typically come from different people on campus so it's possible to get admitted but not be offered an assistantship.  But, like I said before, I won't worry too much about this possibility.

Edited by ZeChocMoose
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b. I'm impressed but don't get accepted for any assistantships

 

On another note, should you mention other programs you are applying to during this weekend? I wouldn't voluntarily give this info up, but do faculty/staff ask in conversation, or in the application somewhere? I bet some schools want to know what theyre competing with.

 

Lastly, is it logical to think that programs accept the desired # of candidates they want for their cohort (with a waitlist to fill spaces where candidates drop off) and have enough assistantships for each candidate to be placed in one? I get really nervous about, you know, not getting one. I imagine if you are accepted into a program, you are probably qualified/a good fit for at least one on campus.

 

For B, I've also heard that even if you enter a program without an assistantship, they will typically help you try to find one to start as soon as possible (either the following semester or the following year). Because sometimes spots will open up over the summer or after the preview weekend. I remember my adviser (he graduated from MSU) said that everyone in his cohort had an assistantship by the beginning of the second semester and that maybe only four people didn't have something lined up at the start of the program. I think they have a 20-30 person cohort...

 

I think a lot of programs assume you are applying to more than one place. With the size of these programs averaging to be 20-40 people, it's awful risky to only apply to one place. I think a lot of schools probably see really common competitors in other schools. For example I know that U of M and MSU usually don't schedule their preview events for the same weekend since it's very common they have a lot of the same applicants (both schools told me this multiple times when I visited). I think it really depends on how you mention it that matters, like if it's relevant to a conversation you're having with someone that's probably fine.

 

Along those same lines, I know the admissions rep I met with at MSU said that they usually admit slightly more people than what they like to have in a cohort (so maybe around 40 people), because they know they will typically lose a few individuals to competitor schools. I can't say whether this is the case at other schools, or if they just keep a waitlist instead.

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