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Graduate Journey Resource Center

Discover valuable resources to assist you in your program search and decision-making process.

Two students walking in campus with books

Should You Take a Campus Tour?

With the current state of the world and the pandemic, the idea of in-person, on-campus visits may seem like a foreign idea. However, as campuses and in-person learning open back up across the country, a campus tour may once again be something worth embarking on, especially if you’re considering a lab-based research program that will require you to work in person or as part of a team.

Determine your priorities

As an undergrad, you were likely more concerned about sports programs, Greek life and the state of the dorm rooms. But at the grad school level, campus visit priorities include meeting faculty, alumni and other graduate students in person, and discussing the program’s curriculum and expectations.

The general “vibe” of the campus may also be important to you if you plan to spend time there, including the library facilities and resource centers. You may also want to explore the areas surrounding the campus, such as the town or city where it is located, as well as available living situations.

Meet with faculty

Setting up a meeting with the program chair or faculty may also be a good idea if possible. If they’re too busy or don’t meet with potential applicants, they’ll let you know, but it can’t hurt to ask. And allowing them to put a face with a name and see firsthand how you could contribute to their program may work in your favor when your application hits the pile. This allows you to assess whether the program, faculty, students and institution are a good fit for you too. Make sure you send a thank you email to any faculty or advisors you met with personally to express your appreciation for their time.

Fee waivers

Visiting campus may also earn you an application fee waiver. Many universities give potential applicants who visit their campus (in-person or virtually) a code that waives the application fee. Depending on how many programs you intend to apply to, this could be a considerable savings.