2017 Admissions Session

Published April 4, 2017 - Article by Jacob Blum, Neurosciences Graduate Student


During the first week of March, aspiring neuroscientists from around the world were invited to the Stanford Neurosciences Program’s official Admissions Session. Each interviewee was paired with a graduate student in the program based on academic interests to gain insight into the program from the student perspective. 

The first day of interviews begins with a buffet breakfast and a program introduction by Program Director Dr. Tony Ricci. This year, Tony laid out his vision of the program as the place for students to not only thrive as neuroscientists, but to also pursue a personally fulfilling career post-Stanford. Following introductions by Tony and members of the umbrella Biosciences community, interviewees went to the ‘Homeroom’ in the Fairchild building to prepare for interviews, hang out, and understand the community.

The Homeroom, replete with puzzles, snacks, board games, and (most) importantly coffee, is the base camp for interview weekend. It offers the chance for prospective students to meet graduate students in the program that are not their official hosts. Most importantly, it is a casual launching pad for interviews that allows all parties to blow off a little bit of steam. Graduate students routinely drop by between experiments and classes to meet and greet our interviewees.

Like all interview weekends, the sheer number of interviews can be exhausting for prospective students. At the end of the second day of interviews, then, prospective students are often ready for a little bit of R & R. That night there are student-led dinners around Palo Alto with offerings that run the full gamut of culinary preferences. This is one of the first official extracurricular activity in which prospective students can get the feel for the type of students and faculty that Stanford attracts and cultivates.

The following day is for most the highlight. The week of interviews culminates with an on-campus brunch hosted by one of our faculty members. The morning is spent meeting, greeting, and eating, followed by closing comments and speeches by faculty and students who shared their highlight moments at Stanford. Upon its conclusion, it is officially fun time. Prospective students sign up for one of three activities—usually involving local wine tasting, a hike, and a trip to San Francisco. It is a small taste of what the the Bay Area offers to those who consider Stanford as his or her next home.