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I want to end up at a university where the faculty in my department spend time getting to know the students. I've enjoyed getting to know my professors as an undergrad and it's important to me to build relationships with grad professors as well. I know this would likely mean I would have to go to a smaller institute.

Could anyone tell me about universitites they've attended or visited where they felt like the department took that time to get to know their students? I primarily care about STEM departments. Also, does anyone know anything about the faculty at Northwestern University or Illinois Institute of Technology. Those are two I'd like to hear more about.

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Not sure if it is only small institutes that offer this type of closeness (I'm guessing you mean getting to know each other personally, not just professionally), but my guess is it will vary with what the students desire and faculty availability.  My guess is that you could contact the two programs you mentioned (or any other of interest) and ask if any of their current students are willing to be contacted by prospective students.  In addition to this forum you might be able to connect with current students or recent graduates via LinkedIn or FB.

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You don't have to go to a small institute to get what you want. 

However, it's really hard to answer this question as broadly as you have put it. Work environment varies greatly from department to department within the same school even. So I'd name my school as a candidate for what you're looking for, but only if you're in my field. I know that in other departments, things are very different, even though it's the same school!

If you happen to be in the same field as me (I know about earth/planetary science departments, and physics/astro departments), feel free to send me a PM and I'll tell you about these departments at my school and whatever other departments I happen to know about (through visits or my friends' experiences). 

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