Post Academic

What to look for: Perspectives for prospectives’ campus visits

Prospective grad students get to be jetsetters this time of year, visiting programs all around the country that have accepted them.  Congratulations to them–you really deserve to be wined-and-dined a bit, after all the hard work and anxiety of the last few months!  With the benefit of hindsight and experience (both as the woo-ed and the woo-ers), we wanted to provide a few (hopefully) helpful pieces of unsolicited advice on what to look out for when you prospectives are trying to make sense of your visits, since the whole process can be wearying and daunting.

Please jump in with any questions, prospectives!  And, for those of us on the other side, feel free to offer more unsolicited advice–as well as any funny stories you have, in the comments section below.

1. Don’t feel intimidated: There are a bunch of scary and scary smart people you’ll be meeting in the few but very action-packed days of your campus visit, from (obviously) the faculty to the grad students to your fellow prospectives.  You’ll naturally be in awe of the faculty, particularly the big names who probably got you to apply to the school in the first place, and you’ll probably stay that way through a good part of grad school.  But you’ll also come to realize that they’re living, breathing people behind the voluminous CVs, important books, and glamour-shot dept website JPEGs.  The sooner you come to this realization, the easier your grad school future will be, since these are the folks you’ll be taking your classes with and asking for advice.