direction: March 2005 Archives

Visiting Days

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There's not been a lot of blogging round these parts recently, in large part because we're right at the peak of activity for our graduate admissions cycle.

As part of that cycle, each year, we bring in several of our top applicants for a two-day event that we call Visiting Days. The program pays to fly them in, current graduate students volunteer to host the visitors, and we either cater or pay for meals. It gives these applicants a chance to meet the faculty and students that we will potentially join, and it gives us more information about each of them as we make our final decisions about funding.

I can say this without sounding immodest, because it wasn't my idea to start with: I think that this is an exceptionally ethical practice, and one that I'm proud to be a part of. I had hoped for better weather this week (it snowed every single day, I think), but other than that, we gave our top candidates a chance to ask a lot of questions, to learn what they'd be getting into if they came here, and to meet the people with whom they would conceivably spend the next 4-5 years of their life. Visiting Days takes a lot of the guesswork out of coming here, and we're able to do it in a way such that the students themselves incur none of the costs. We book the flights, arrange the stays, and pay for the meals.

(By the way, this is a constant source of amazement to me, that universities ever ask students to bear the cost of recruiting trips, particularly when that student is applying for a job. I refuse to believe that universities with budgets in the millions of millions need to force graduate students to bear the costs of such trips. If I were in the position to do so, I would blacklist schools that continue to require graduate student applicants to purchase their own plane tickets, and then reimburse them after they've incurred interest. Unacceptable.)

So anyway, Visiting Days was Thursday and Friday, and by all accounts, it was a success. A nice combination of formal and informal conversations, and as much access in both directions as we could manage.

Next year, though, I'm going to try to get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night during the week leading up to Visiting Days.

That is all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the direction category from March 2005.

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