Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rochester Flyout, II

First off, one student, arguably two, told us not to come. I don't know if this is typical. None of the students could realistically be described as 'ecstatic'. Most were content. A lot of warnings about the difficulty of the courses.

Profs were definitely very available. Students said repeatedly that doors were always open, everyone was always around. This doesn't seem to be a show, either. Stories seemed very consistent about how you could talk to most any prof at any time.

Funding for graduate students is better than it used to be. Draw what conclusions you will. Apparently funding is, to some degree, competitive amongst students. e.g. if you need to retake one of the qualification exams, some of your funding might be moved to someone who didn't need a second try. The message we got was that had kinda-sorta changed. They don't admit people without funding anymore, they actually give funding for the fifth year, but be prepared to have your fellowship cut somewhat if you don't get good marks in all courses, pass all your exams the first try, etc. All the "fellowships" include TA duties from year 3 onward, 7 hours a week (I think that's the right number. Trying to extract more info about this.)

We did have a lot of chance to talk to faculty - I think most of us had about two hours of one-on-one with various profs. They acknowledged the turnover, said they're going to continue to hire young, accepting that the best are often going to leave. Better to have the best for awhile than mediocre ones who stay is a philosophy there, it seems.

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