U of Chicago

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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:57 pm

U of Chicago

Post by ___ » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:56 am

Did anyone go to their open house? And was anyone as turned off by it as I was? Somehow, out of 14 hours of scheduled activities for the day there was exactly zero time for one-on-one interaction with either faculty or grad students. For lunch we had a grad student lead us to a colloquium (which was given by a guy from Caltech and had nothing to do with the open house), and then tell us that we could sit in if we wanted. Since it was already half over, me and my fellow prospies ended up eating lunch alone in an empty office. Stuff like this, along with the fact that no profs tried to court me by calling me up before or after the visit, really sent up red flags. I'm trying to contact profs and students right now to get more info, but so far no luck.

The problem is, Chicago definitely looks the best on paper, at least for research. I'm interested in theoretical cosmology with a preference for early universe stuff, and the other places I'm looking at are Harvard (astro) and Santa Cruz (physics). Chicago has the whole Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Harvard doesn't have much for early universe stuff, and Santa Cruz looks good but isn't as big or prestigious. The faculty and students at Harvard and Santa Cruz were both way more friendly and more open to talking with me. This all makes Santa Cruz sound the best, but I'd feel kind of silly turning down the other two for it. Ugh. Of course, having a significant other makes things much more complicated, and the whole thing might end up being decided upon what's best for her.

Anyways, anyone else have similar misgivings about Chicago? Deciding is hard.

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Re: U of Chicago

Post by zxcv » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:02 pm

UCSD had a similarly disastrously organized visiting day. We had to skip out of scheduled events to talk to grad students or faculty in small groups or one on one. They didn't even ask the grad students to take us out after the faculty dinner, so we were left to go on our own to the campus pub (with one very cool prof who picked up the tab).

I know of at least one guy there who's planning on turning them down for a significantly lower ranked school, precisely because he didn't see a community of grad students.

Do your best to call faculty members and find grad students you can talk to on the phone. Find out if this is just the visiting day, or if it reflects the broader atmosphere of the department.

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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:59 am

Re: U of Chicago

Post by superfun » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:31 pm

I had a good experience at the weekend, I was there for HEP. We had most of the time from lunch until around 3:30pm to talk to faculty and students 1 on 1 if we wanted. Maybe your area was just busy that day or less organized? If you can get in touch with a few people over the phone it might help ease some misgivings.

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