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Do grad students have a say in Admission decisions

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We are a part of it. We're asked our opinions of recruits during interview weekends.

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For PhD programs, I believe (I myself has not been involved and I am not grads, though) professors might ask their students to review applicant profiles, filtering out those apparently unqualified (say, GPA is lower than the cut-off, or have no lab research experience, etc.)

 

But rest assured that most of the serious programs in top universities will not let graduate students to do objective tasks like determining which applicant is suitable for doing research.

Edited by wangziqi2013

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Depends on the program and school, but yes, grad students have a say in admissions decisions, especially senior PhD students. There's a thread on the board already about how to pick grad students from a graduate student who's picking someone for their lab, and I get asked for individual and bulk opinions each year about graduate students that visit our department. 

 

Just so it won't come as a shock to you, graduate students also will help grade and judge new graduate students and research progress at many schools as well, especially in the sciences. 

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It all depends on the department. On a committee one of my friend sits on, its 4 faculty and 2 students, and each voter has 1 point. So an individual student's vote is the same weight as a faculty member ! 

 

You actually want it that way, after all, you want to be accepted by your peers, not just your superiors. 

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The role of graduate students in the admission process is probably field, school, and department specific. No graduate students are involved in admissions in my doctoral program. In fact, just the other day I asked the vice chair if students had ever been part of the process. I was told they hadn't but that didn't mean they couldn't be in the future. She seemed surprised that I'd want to be part of it. 

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I heard it can make a difference if you really had a conflict with someone while you're visiting and/or the students don't think they can work with you.

 

On the other hand, I doubt random positive impressions count, although you might personally like the program more if you get along especially well with their grad students. But it wouldn't influence the decision on their part.

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It depends on the lab/program. I asked this question to the grad students during my interview weekend and they said they had very little, if any, influence in the selection process. They said the most impact they could have is if they noticed something REALLY off about a candidate and reported it (for example: one applicant asked current grad students where to buy weed during the pre-interview dinner a few years back), but other than that they are rarely asked for their opinions. 

So it really just depends on how that program works. You'll want to make a good impression on them regardless

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But rest assured that most of the serious programs in top universities will not let graduate students to do objective tasks like determining which applicant is suitable for doing research.

 

I know of several top programs in a variety of fields where this is not the case. A friend is in a PhD program at UCLA where grad student reps are part of the admissions process, read and review all the files, and meet with the faculty on the adcom to discuss who to extend offers to. That friend is in a top 10 program...

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I know of several top programs in a variety of fields where this is not the case. A friend is in a PhD program at UCLA where grad student reps are part of the admissions process, read and review all the files, and meet with the faculty on the adcom to discuss who to extend offers to. That friend is in a top 10 program...

 

Yup, when I was in my first go-round with this process I applied to a relatively unusual program, a sort of multi-disciplinary psych/econ/stats/social science thing, and we had out and out interviews with students during the prospective student weekend, and it was clearly stated that several of those students sat on the admissions committee with voting rights equivalent to faculty.  I suspect this is probably more common in a) smaller programs and b ) more "unusual" programs.  But it definitely can happen.

 

I actually found it nice - meeting with the existing graduate students gave me a much better feel for whether I would fit well in the program in a day-to-day sense, and they all seemed to take their duties very seriously - they were very familiar with my application package and genuinely interested in talking with me.  YMMV of course!

 

Edited because the second item on a lettered list is not a smiley face with sunglasses.

Edited by Zoethor2

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Actually, in all the cases where I hear about graduate students serving and voting on admissions committees, it has been a top 10 university. And I would say these programs are definitely "normal", not some weird edge case. 

 

Of course, they are not inviting a first year graduate student to serve on this committee! These students will be established scholars in their field and have earned the respect of the faculty in the department. Some of these students might have supervised senior undergrads directly themselves. They will most likely be getting their PhDs in a few months. So it's not surprising that some senior graduate students have as much a say in admissions than professors, since it's not like their opinion is completely useless until the second they get a PhD, then they magically gain all this insight! 

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When I interviewed at CU Denver (Anschutz), one of the interviews was with a grad student. They had 4 students (all 3rd-5th years) serving on the admissions committee. I know that interview counted, but I'm not sure if my interactions with the other grad students during non-interview times counted.

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I definitely just interviewed at an unranked school that had students seated on the admissions committee and many professors had their senior graduate students interview prospective recruits earlier in the day, before meeting with the actual mentor.

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Current PhD Student here. In my program the other PhDs in the cohort ONLY give opinions on PhD applicants that visited and we personally talked to.  Usually what happens is the professor will meet with a prospective student, then me and a few members of the cohort will give them a tour, take them to lunch, maybe grab a beer and talk to them about their interests, why they're here, what they want to study etc.  It gives the student a more relaxed environment to ask questions. Then we can offer our recommendation to the professor.

 

We DO NOT give recommendations on ANY masters students.  We generally don't meet with them as my professor doesn't take on any masters level research assistants.

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