Graduate Admissions Visit 2012

February 24, 2012

Prof. Alex Hartemink leads prospective grad students on a tour of Duke Chapel

The Department of Computer Science may well be testing whether the early bird gets the worm. This year’s graduate admissions visit for prospective students took place more than a month earlier than usual and before the department offered doctoral admissions for the fall.

“It was sort of a mutual evaluation opportunity,” said Marilyn Butler, graduate program coordinator for the department.

The visit — which took place February 17-18 — allowed students, faculty and staff to show off the department and Duke while also allowing them to meet and evaluate applicants before completing the admissions process.

Visits usually take place at the end of March or in early April, after prospective students already have had offers and made visits to other universities. This year, 18 of the 20 students invited attended. Last year, fewer students attended possibly because they already had committed to another university or were burned out on weekend visits.

“We felt like being first was really good,” Butler said of the change this year. “But the proof is really in the pudding: Do we get more of our top recruits, and does it seem like we get more people earlier?”

In addition to presentations about the department, this year’s visitors also attended research overview talks given by faculty and met with faculty and senior students for one-on-one research discussions. Butler arranged 102 meetings the first day. In the evening, Computer Science students held a poster session, showcasing their work and offering another venue for applicants to learn about and discuss research taking place at Duke. Saturday included a question-and-answer session with faculty and students and a campus tour led by Professor Alex Hartemink.

“The visitors were all smart and motivated,” Butler said. “It really was a fun weekend; the faculty were totally involved, and the graduate students just did a great job. They stepped in and did a lot of the meetings; they filled in all the gaps. There was a lot of excitement.”