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Missing social events/schedule conflicts


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I feel like I will be at a significant disadvantage because I am not able to attend a casual dinner with graduate students the night before an interview day. How common is this kind of schedule conflict, and what kinds of strategies can I use to get to know the current students (and for them to get to know me), without attending the social event? I know students play at least some role (and that it varies depending on the school) in the admissions process, and it's also extremely valuable to learn more about the program and fit through their perspective. I would really like to attend, but the flight schedule did not match up. Any and all tips are appreciated! 

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I wouldn't be too discouraged by it. It's fairly common for people to miss some/all social events. In this case, I would attend all other events as possible. I would reach out to current grad students via email and ask them questions as necessary. You want to do this in a way that doesn't come off as probing but just in a very friendly way and with a genuine interest. I think grad students are the best resource to find out about the program, POI, what the situation is like there. 

The interviews I have attended have all had a "current students panel" where they discuss some of these things with prospective students. I would definitely attend that and reach out to them afterwards if possible. 

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