Visiting Minnesota, part 1

Last week, I visited Minnesota as a prospective student, under the following conditions:

  • A maximum $US500 for airfare
  • 3 nights of lodging provided
  • $US30 per diem for meals

It turns out that, due to the $500 restriction on airfare, it effectively limits the ability of the department to invite internationals, and effectively restricting Minnesota to inviting students attending universities in the US, Canada or Mexico. For this reason I was the only international that actually attended the open house day at Minnesota. Plus I found troubling to find a lookalike student that resembled another masters student back home that was also due to complete a masters at the same time as I was, and I even got fooled into thinking that this particular student would also attend Minnesota, or at least, consider doing so. I would only learn two nights later the full extent of Minnesota’s troubles with recruiting in Canada.

Figure 1: The Golden Gopher at Coffman

Figure 1: The Golden Gopher at Coffman

That said, as I always seem to do when visiting other colleges one way or another, I take pictures and I purchase some school clothing. This time around, it had to be long-sleeved, since, owing to the cold nature of Minnesota (actually not much different from home) I knew that I would have to wear what “proof of visit” I would then purchase for much of the year, were I to attend. Because, back home, clothing from schools outside the city is treated as a proof of visit (especially true of the large # of people wearing Harvard clothing while not standing any chance whatsoever to attend, in any shape or form).

And, of course, as I will spend years 3+ at Tate it made sense for me to visit Tate, and PAN as well, especially since years 1-2 will be spent either at PAN, for Physics And Nanotechnology or at some undisclosed location. Also, since during these years 1-2 there will be no guarantee whatsoever that my TA sections will actually take place at PAN, I thought it was worthwhile to get a feel for the East Bank side of campus at first.

Figure 2: Tate Laboratory

Figure 2: Tate Laboratory

Got a chance to ask a few current students about their experiences of attending Minnesota, as well as the administration whether there were any other applicants, or admits even, from Canada or Mexico. The answer was that all other applicants this year from the two aforementionned countries were either rejected or waitlisted. And, back in my hotel room, I had a heated discussion about QFT, renormalization and its shortcomings with my roommate.

P.S.: I still didn’t get out of the waitlist at Carnegie Mellon… which means that this final decision will, more likely than not, actually be final, in which case I will attend Minnesota.


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