Hello current and future grad student and postdoc readers, I have some questions for you!
We have traditionally done pretty well with recruiting, but lately things have waned a bit and we want to know why. We want to improve recruiting in our department, so we can attract more applicants and convince more of them who visit to come to us for their PhDs. We are looking at ways to do this, and I wanted to get some brainstorming feedback from you all out there who are looking, or who have recently looked, for graduate school opportunities. I even created an email address just for this! Please email me (or comment here) with any responses you're willing to share with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Where do you look for information about a department? What venues (internet, your current school, your current mentors, conferences, etc.) have been most effective in introducing you to departments that you might not know about otherwise? How important is the department's website in your decision to apply or not apply?
2. What are your top priorities in a grad school department? For example, rank these things (and/or add your own): reputation of department/institution name itself, reputation of PIs and their science, types of grad support available (TAships vs. RAships), length of average graduate student time to PhD, attitudes of current graduate students, exposure to postdocs, friendliness of environment, stipend level, etc...
3. If you were on the fence between two equally solid offers, what kinds of things could the recruiters do or offer to change your mind?
4. On a recruitment visit, what are the most valuable and important parts of the trip? Should there be more time with PIs, or more time with students? How much do social receptions influence your feeling of a department?
5. From afar, who seems more interesting and important to talk to: junior faculty or senior faculty? Do you want to see them give talks about their research, or do you want to spend more time one-on-one?
6. Any other things that stood out as positive or negative from visits you have had, or departments you have looked at (without identifiers please)?
Thank you!! All survey respondents will get a little gold star sticker put on my wall for them! If you don't have a way to answer anonymously by email, please feel free to comment here with your answers. If you do decide to email me, your anonymity will be protected.