Contacting students at your prospective graduate program: Any questions off-limits?

A current graduate student in a program you are considering can be your inside guide to what it is like to be in that research group. With them also being your potential colleague, you also do not want to start off on the wrong foot. Questions to avoid asking are gossip questions which include but are not limited to: who “has beef” with who, if someone is single or confirming/denying rumors of their advisor.  Also, remember graduate students are very busy so if there are questions that can be answered via the group website or the schools website, make sure to use these resources first before asking them.

Latisha

 

Bloomington in the autumn

The autumn is probably one of the best seasons to spend in Bloomington.  With the crisp air, falling colored leaves, and smells of barbeque and tailgates, it brings to you the true college town atmosphere.  Not only is Bloomington ranked as one of the best college towns in the U.S., but it should also be considered to be one of the best destinations for visitors and tourists.

With nearby Brown County, stroll the streets of Nashville, IN, shopping for antiques, boutiques, and goodies.  Stop by The Big Woods Pizza and Brewing Co. for a local brew and pizza.  This weekend, we had the Breakfast Pizza … biscuits and gravy with an omelet all in one! Mmmm …

Don’t forget the infamous Oliver Winery.  An Indiana favorite has jazz festivals, outdoor seating, and fun activities for the whole family.  They also have an outlet on the Square in downtown Bloomington.

Lastly, the city of Bloomington has cool boutiques and local restaurants to match your flare.  Chose from “farm-to-table,” ethnic, and good “down home” Indiana and American fare!

Book your trip to visit IU today!

Fall in Bloomington

Fall is finally here in Bloomington!  So far the season has brought the usual cooler temperatures, changing leaves, mid-term exams, and darker beers.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m enjoying every bit of it.  Fall is definitely my favorite season.  I always found it paradoxical that as the leaves on the trees fall and much of the plant life fades, the students at Indiana University are just getting their feet under them, settling in, and discovering all the new wonders of Bloomington.  It’s a strange juxtaposition how student life blossoms as much of the natural world fades and slows to prepare for winter.

Brown County Hike 10202013

Hiking in Brown County. Photo courtesy of Amy D.

It is an appropriate contrast however, given the wealth of opportunities that each new academic year brings.  This is truly an exciting time of year when the outdoors is beckoning for us to enjoy it and new avenues of involvement, study, and leadership open up as we roll into a new school year.  I was fortunate this past week to have to chance to meet several promising prospective students at the Getting You Into IU event hosted by the University Graduate School.  Over the course of dinner at Uptown Cafe, I heard many inspiring stories from students across the country that truly touched me and for that I am grateful.

GU2IU 2013 BW

Dinner at Getting You Into IU 2013. Photo Courtesy of Aminta M.

The tales that some students shared truly humanized some of the challenges that are faced by first-generation college students and highlighted the hard work that students across the country are putting in to set themselves up for success after their undergraduate studies.  While they were thanking me for showing them around, I was bursting with thanks to each of them for inspiring me and renewing my enthusiasm for graduate school, helping others, and sharing stories and experiences with others.  I am excited at the prospect of having some of these students join our ranks here as graduate students and wish all of them the best as they continue to consider their options for graduate school.

Too big? or too small?

Coming to a Carnegie Research 1 institution may seem daunting, especially if you are coming from a small liberal arts college.  However, there are many benefits to a large institution.  First of all, the resources and facilities are plentiful.  It’s easy to find the books and equipment you need.  Even if the campus does not have it, one of the other IU campuses may and it will be shipped to you for free!  In addition, the diversity of the student body allows you to interact with international students, those with different upbringings and backgrounds, and others in a field of study you may not have ever heard about.  Interdisciplinary work can be exciting at a campus like this!

Besides academically, there are plenty of options for extracurricular activities to participate in and get involved with.  Whether you are artsy, political, religious, or just plain ol’ wanna chill with your friends there’s something for everyone!  Don’t get frightened with the size of the institution.  Nothing can be TOO BIG, right?  Super size my graduate degree!! Well, maybe not like that, but a place like IU has everything for everyone (except for engineers ;))!

Why come to IU?

If you are checking out this post, you should be scheduling a trip to Bloomington soon! Indiana University Bloomington has high caliber academics and a vibrant campus life and community.

If you are a fanatic sports fan, join us at the football tailgates and basketball game watches. Don’t forget to buy your season tickets to see the game live too! You will love the atmosphere in Assembly Hall. WOW! The cheers and screams exhibit our school pride! Also, don’t forget our championship soccer and baseball teams. Most sports events are free of charge for students!

If you aren’t into sports, the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music has amazing ballet and opera productions. Watching a show in the Musical Arts Center is like being at the Metropolitan in New York City. Really! Don’t believe me, come and check it out yourself! Also, our IU Auditorium has traveling Broadway shows and concerts, and don’t forget the Union Board events in the Indiana Memorial Union. I’m watching a movie there tonight in Whittenberger Auditorium!

A short stroll off-campus through our front door – the Sample gates – brings you to Kirkwood Avenue. A downtown vibrant with ethnic food, nightlife, shopping, and leisure activities is a good excuse to take a break from studying. Festivals and events line the streets during the spring, summer, and fall. Don’t forget the Farmer’s Market at Shower’s City Hall.

If you are an outdoors person, go hiking in our rolling forests and watch the leaves change colors in the autumn. Brown County, one of Indiana’s most beautiful places in the fall, is only a short drive away. Check out boating and fishing at our lakes, and if you are a novice, check out and be a member of IU Outdoor Adventures.

IU and Bloomington is filled with fun activities to keep you busy! Come for a visit and you will feel right at home! See you soon and GO IU!

Campus visits are important because…

Photo taken from:  http://www.iub.edu/about/tour/

Photo taken from: http://www.iub.edu/about/tour/

1)   You feel it; yes there is a feel to a campus that you will only get from walking around, tasting the local food, and seeing and visualizing your new living space

2)   Your questions will be answered; On your visit you can talk to grad students, faculty and administrators.

Photo taken from iugradschool.blogspot.com

Photo taken from iugradschool.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3)   It will be home; And that home needs to be conducive to learning, working, and playing.

IU Campus View Apartments Taken from http://www.rps.indiana.edu/campusviewapartments.cfml

IU Campus View Apartments
Taken from www.rps.indiana.edu/campusviewapartments.cfml

However, if for whatever reason you still can’t make the campus visit there is always an alternative. Check out Campus Tours, where you can take thousands of virtual campus tours. 

Happy touring!

To visit or not to visit…

That is the question. Whether it is nobler in the minds of young prospective graduate students to remain at home or travel across the country to visit the schools of their choice. (Forgive my butchering of Shakespeare) The question of whether or not to visit is a pertinent one. I will share my story and as always FTOD (free tip of the day if you’re new to my blog).

My story is a simple one. I got accepted to two institutions, and in the spring I packed my bags to visit the institutions in person. It costed me a pretty penny, but the trip was worth it. Stepping on campus and talking to people in the program face to face was worth it for me. Both schools I was considering were located in fairly rural town. One was more rural than the other, and being their made all the difference in the world to me. I’m a big proponent of trusting your intuition. And when you step on campus, you can get a good sense of if this is where you belong.

My FTOD is contact the undergraduate admissions department generally they do a fantastic job of giving tours of campus and they give you a great sense of what the campus culture is like. It’s a nice contrast to the tours most departments and graduate students give you. Oh and usually undergrad admissions offices will give you institutional swag.

Be well friends!