Tis the season to be… recruited!

It’s time for your hard work of searching, choosing, and applying to pay off! If your application makes the admissions cut, you’re likely to be asked to visit your schools of choice for some tours and interviews. If you’re lucky- also for a fellowship! So if you got an invitation – congratulations!

Here’s where the dating analogies start… recruitment is kind of like you, your university’s, and maybe your advisor’s first date.  Not only are they checking you out, but you’re also checking them out – and don’t forget that. You’re going to spend your time trying to impress every person you meet, but don’t forget to take a careful look around yourself.

This is how the recruiting goes at MSU – but I’m guessing it’s similar at other universities.

There are three main components:

  • People getting to know you — this takes place in the form of usually a short introduction or a presentation to the faculty and/or current students. Here’s your chance to shine – make sure you’ve rehearsed your strengths and have a solid idea of where you’re going- and how this school/advisor fits into that. Also if you’re a good communicator, this is a good place to show that too. If you’re not, something you might want to try to improve beforehand.
  •  You getting to know the people — The researchers, the grad students, the support staff – this takes place in various social events (usually around food/drink) or more formally, with potential advisors, with a short “interview” (just a meeting really – and this is also them getting to know you).
  • You getting to know the school and the area — Campus tours as well as tours of highlights around the city. Ask about good places to live- if you decide to move here, that will come in handy later.

How to act/behave

If you’re like me, I was not certain at all that I was admitted to the university. Some people think, if they’re going to spend $1000’s of dollars on bringing you to the school, you’re probably in. And if you’re that secure, that’s fine. But I definitely wasn’t, and I honestly think, better safe than sorry!

On that note, I think there are really two important things to remember here.

  • EVERYONE you meet could be a potential friend/colleague/mentor/etc. for you in the near future. And they WILL remember you (esp. if you do something rude/stupid/inappropriate). Remember that when you meet with grad students, researchers and secretaries- EVERYONE. If you decide to attend this university, it will make things a lot easier. I don’t say that to make you nervous/scared while you’re there, but just don’t act like you’re never going to see these people again.
  • And with that, the only other important thing I want to note is that, if your recruitment is anything like mine, you will be served alcohol. Maybe never-ending supplies.  I know peer pressure is tough here, but if you don’t handle alcohol well, stay away. People may forget if you’re drinking a soda rather than a beer, but they will never forget if you do something rude/stupid/inappropriate whilst drunk.

In the end – have fun, and learn lots.

Be yourself – but be your-best-self.

How about you? How did your recruiting go? Or what else do you have questions about for your upcoming recruitment?

PS. These, “how to behave tips” are probably always a good idea in most social situations.

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Filed under Grad School, Guidebook

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