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Thread: Question About Visitation Day

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    Question About Visitation Day

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    So I just got an email from one school that said the Econ department will recommend to the Graduate School that you be admitted to our PhD program. It also mentions a visitation day that I have to rsvp by Friday. I have two questions:

    1. What does it mean to be recommended to be admitted? Is this essentially saying that I have admitted?

    2. I am working several hours from the nearest large airport and about 12.5 hours from the school. I also have very limited PTO, so I donít think I am really able to visit (this is the first response of 19 programs). How much does this hurt my admissions/funding prospects if I explain my situation to them? How often to full time professionals skip these events and how understanding are these schools? I was thinking of asking to speak with the professor who reached out via phone - how would that be taken?

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    1) yes, you're admitted
    2) this is the next 6 years of your life you're talking about. You should make every effort to visit. If between now and the visit day you get an offer you will definitely take over this one, then back out of the visit day at that time, but I would strongly suggest you NOT skip the visit day even if it will be a hassle to travel.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Quote Originally Posted by jdl7851 View Post
    So I just got an email from one school that said the Econ department will recommend to the Graduate School that you be admitted to our PhD program. It also mentions a visitation day that I have to rsvp by Friday. I have two questions:

    1. What does it mean to be recommended to be admitted? Is this essentially saying that I have admitted?

    2. I am working several hours from the nearest large airport and about 12.5 hours from the school. I also have very limited PTO, so I don’t think I am really able to visit (this is the first response of 19 programs). How much does this hurt my admissions/funding prospects if I explain my situation to them? How often to full time professionals skip these events and how understanding are these schools? I was thinking of asking to speak with the professor who reached out via phone - how would that be taken?
    Yes, you are admitted.

    You should attend the visit day if it is a school you are considering. Like fundergrad says, this is big commitment. Go check it out.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    My problem is that I am 12.5 hours from The school and have 9 days off for the year (and this is the first of 19 programs to respond). I also need to keep my job because I have prescription medication that I need and can only afford with health insurance. Iím not trying to complain, but trying to figure out the most strategic approach.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    I have also checked flights and cannot find one that will get me there and back with only one day off

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Quote Originally Posted by jdl7851 View Post
    My problem is that I am 12.5 hours from The school and have 9 days off for the year (and this is the first of 19 programs to respond). I also need to keep my job because I have prescription medication that I need and can only afford with health insurance. I’m not trying to complain, but trying to figure out the most strategic approach.
    I agree with the last two commenters that the visit can be very helpful on your end in making your decision. But I do see where you are coming from, and if you think the additional information is not helpful, I don't see an issue with not going. The additional information would not be helpful if:
    a. You are convinced you will not go to this place even if it is the best place on earth.
    b. You are convinced you will go even if it is the most terrible place on earth.
    c. You already have visited the school and know what you are getting into if you choose it.

    These are rarely satisfied for most people (even for people that get only offer) but they were for me (I fell into c) so I did not go. I think there might be some marginal benefits to going, like meeting your cohort-mates (this is a decently important aspect) and maybe making some early faculty connections, but I think these are second order.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Let me add to what others have said that choosing where to go is making a very large investment, in terms both of where you will be productive and where you will be happy. That argues for visiting if possible even if the personal cost is large.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Quote Originally Posted by jdl7851 View Post
    My problem is that I am 12.5 hours from The school and have 9 days off for the year (and this is the first of 19 programs to respond). I also need to keep my job because I have prescription medication that I need and can only afford with health insurance. I’m not trying to complain, but trying to figure out the most strategic approach.
    If you're going to be quitting in June to start a PhD, what is the issue with using the PTO?

    Alternatively, some admitted students visit on a day that works for them rather than on the actual visit day. If they want you to attend, you should be able to get a 15 or 20 minute meeting with the director of grad studies, lunch with some current students (but maybe don't expect it to be paid for), and you can do a self-guided tour of campus (or the walking undergrad-focused tour). Visiting on a different day also gives you some time to check out the town/city. The school would probably pay for your travel costs and one nights accommodation.

    Given your constraints, it may make sense to take a week off in late March to visit the places that you are admitted.

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Got it. Thanks for all the help!

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    Re: Question About Visitation Day

    Do you have a funding offer from this department?

    In our department, most admitted students do not visit. Some are international and it is far too expensive. It's still quite expensive for many domestic students.

    We make all of our funding offers upfront at the time of admission. Whether a prospective student visits has no bearing on anything from our end. It's purely a way for us to sell ourselves to the prospective student.

    If you want to learn about a department, I suggest you arrange a phone or Skype call with he Director of Graduate Studies to talk about the program and also ask to be put in touch with five or so current students. You'll learn a lot from these conversations.

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