As Round 2 deadlines inch closer, several top programs are hitting the road and holding informational sessions in cities across the world. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events, you might find yourself face to face with an influential adcom member. THEN what?
First and foremost: keep calm. Unless you make a scene, ask an offensive question, or do something really unprofessional in front of everyone, it’s very unlikely that you can negatively impact your chances for admission while mingling with program representatives and other prospective students.
In fact, since many applicants will never be able to make it to an in-person informational session, it would be tough for adcom members to let anything that happened at such an event—positive or negative—affect their judgment of someone’s candidacy. It just wouldn’t be fair.
But that’s not to say that you won’t be able to take something valuable away from talking with representatives from your dream school. If you get into a discussion about your future career goals, you might learn about a few relevant aspects of the curriculum that you hadn’t been aware of before. Or if you receive answers to your burning questions about the program, you’ll have that much more material to work with in your “Why School X?” essay or interview response.
Many applicants worry about what they should ask at informational sessions. Our first bit of advice is to of course ask any questions that you actually and honestly have. Keep in mind, however, that not all representatives will know every last detail about their school—but they may be able to connect you with someone who does.
Another option is to really listen during any presentations that are given, take notes, and then ask a related question to show that you were engaged. Or dig into the program’s web site beforehand and jot down a few questions based on what you found there.
The most important thing is to be polite and professional. You don’t have to stress out about asking some jaw-droppingly brilliant question. Just take note of anything you may be able to work into your essays and enjoy yourself!
Remember this great advice:
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