A visiting weekend is the perfect time to get to know the faculty, students, and culture of a Ph.D. program and gives you the chance to ask any questions you may have. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet and ask questions of a potential Ph.D. advisor.
To make sure you make the best decision, here is what to expect and do on a Ph.D. visiting weekend.
Before the Visit
Before your visiting weekend, it is important to research the department and the program that you are applying to. This includes reading about the faculty and their research, as well as familiarizing yourself with the program’s curriculum, requirements, and any specializations it offers. It is also beneficial to read the university's Ph.D. handbook and mission statement.
If you’re visiting Rice, maybe even reach out to a Grad Student Ambassador in the department of your interest!
During the Visit
When you arrive on campus, you should attend any open houses and activities that are offered. This can include information sessions, faculty lectures, field trips, lab tours, social events, and so much more! Take time to explore the campus and get a feel for the environment and culture of the department. Meet as many current students as you can and get their input about the program’s strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to take notes and ask questions as you go.
When you meet with faculty members, it is important to ask questions that are relevant to your academic interests and goals. Make sure to ask about the professor’s research, experience, and mentoring style—and ask their students too. Some questions you can ask include:
- What is your mentorship style? Are you more “hands-on” or “hands-off”?
- How will you determine whether you take a student? Will this be a funded position?
- Do you have a particular project that you see me working on?
- How is your group structured? Are students collaborative?
This is a very brief list of questions you can ask but remember that your visitation weekend is a time for you to evaluate how well the program fits your needs!
After the Visit
After your visiting weekend, it is important to reflect on your experience and evaluate the program and faculty. Make sure to take some time to consider all the information you received and make an informed decision. It is also beneficial to reach out to faculty and other students for more information and advice.
Visiting weekend is the ideal time to get to know the faculty and ask any questions you may have about the Ph.D. program. Preparation and research are key to making the most of your visiting weekend and selecting the best advisor for your Ph.D. journey.
With some research and preparation, you can make the most of your visiting weekend and select a department (and advisor!) that best fits your needs