It is sometimes a good idea to visit a prospective graduate school, but only after you did the homework about the school you’re contemplating a visit to. Visits are important in order to gauge whether the school, its facilities as well as the department culture really is for you. Sometimes mishaps happen, like, say, the prof moving on the very day you’re scheduled to visit. And that’s precisely what happened to me.
I knew, two months before I received the email from Justin Khoury, that the other professor I was interested in at UPenn, Mark Trodden, both of which came to be on my radar because of a visit on the Center for Particle Cosmology’s website, so I planned this very visit around a meeting with Justin Khoury. Rather than to be a visit made in order to meet with a potential advisor, as well as to tour the facilities, it is a visit now intended to meet with the students of either professor. Because, in fact, the questions I might have about the life at UPenn as a PhD student would be best answered by the students in the thick of it.
Simply put, if you do plan on visiting, please contact the prof(s) you’re interested in first, while stating your research interests and why you want to work with the profs in question.