If you are trying to decide which graduate schools to apply to, or which to attend if you have already been accepted, do not skip the campus visit! Taking the time to experience what attending the school will be like by seeing the school in-person and meeting faculty members and current students should be an important element of your decision-making process.
If you are not sure how to go about arranging a visit, the best place to check for information is the Admissions Office’s website. Keep in mind the campus schedule when arranging a visit. The school will be much quieter than normal during holidays, breaks or during exams. Many schools have student ambassador programs, so be sure to inquire about meeting with a current student during your visit. They tend to give the best testimonials!
Before your visit, look online to learn what research the faculty are participating in and reach out to those faculty members with whom your interests align. This will give you the opportunity to discuss their research more in-depth, and will also allow you to begin developing a relationship, which can be helpful in obtaining a position as a research assistant.
Be sure to stop by the Financial Aid Office during your visit. Even if you have already researched the school’s website for scholarships (if you haven’t, you should!), ask for more information during your visit to make sure you didn’t miss any potential opportunities. The Financial Aid Office may also have information on scholarships outside of the institution for which you might be eligible.
Before you go
Take time to research the housing and transportation options available on campus and in the surrounding area ahead of your visit. That way, when you are in town you can visit the areas that piqued your interest, and be more knowledgeable when it comes time to look for a roommate or sign a lease.
In addition to planning your visit to campus, find the school’s page on Facebook or check for a Twitter account. Following these social media sites can also help you get a feel for the social life, activities on campus and vibrancy of alumni networks.
You will likely go on many campus visits during your graduate school search, so don’t forget to take notes and use that camera on your smart phone for memorable campus shots!
Thanks to Emily C. Keily, Tufts University School of Medicine’s Director of Admissions for
Public Health & Professional Degree Programs, for sharing this guest blog post with us.