Under ideal circumstances, everyone would be able to visit all the graduate schools they are applying for and spend several days getting to know the school, the people, and the town. But if you can’t go, don’t despair! Here are a few ideas for getting to know the school better from afar.
- Ask professors if they might be willing to schedule a Skype call. Skype may not be as ideal as meeting in person, but it’s still more personal than an email. It will allow you a chance to size up potential advisors (and vice versa). Of course, you should probably spend some time preparing for your virtual call, the same as you would for an in-person interview.
- Ask for contact info for graduate students who might be willing to chat online or on the phone. The IU emissaries this year are using Adobe chat sessions to get in touch with prospective students and answer questions in an informal setting. Stay tuned!
- Like Kuang suggested, spend some time browsing the school’s webpage, the town’s webpage, or the local newspaper online to get a feel for the campus and the surroundings. Check out events calendars (like this one) to see what kind of activities are going on.
- Check out virtual/video visits. IU Bloomington has some here.
- Tune in to local radio. A lot of radio stations have webpages where you can listen live. Our school’s station, WIUX, is one way to get an impression of IU’s personality.
The more sources you go to, the better understanding you’ll have of your potential academic home-to-be!