It can be hard to come up with the right questions to ask during your interview process. We’ve asked current students for some questions you can keep in mind while speaking with students, faculty, and staff. We hope these questions will get you started thinking about your ideal graduate school experience and help you best prepare for what we have to offer. 

Questions to ask about the program:

  • How does the department support graduate students outside of their academics? 
  • What is the culture of the department? How does the department support or encourage collaboration in research? 
  • How does the department support students’ diverse backgrounds and experiences? 
  • What are current students’ and faculty’s favorite and least favorite things about the department? 
  • What sort of additional funding is available through labs, or the department, for travel, conferences, research, and professional development? 

Questions to ask about personal life:

  • While students are guaranteed a stipend during their time in the program, it is important to consider how you will manage your finances. We suggest asking current graduate students about cost of rent and utilities in the various St. Louis neighborhoods, and whether their stipend is sufficient to cover their needs. 
  • What is the work-life balance for current graduate students? How does this change throughout the program? 
  • What is the quality of life like for graduate students in St. Louis? Be sure to ask about public transportation, entertainment and socializing options, and diversity. 

Questions to ask about professional life and the lab:

  • Students suggest asking both potential advisors and their current graduate students: What is your prospective advisor’s mentorship style? What are their expectations of graduate students? How does the advisor support students’ academic and career goals? How often do they meet with their graduate students?
  • Do people socialize outside of the lab?
  • How much does within- or between-lab collaboration happen, and how is this handled? 
  • Who else does your potential advisor interact with regularly? Where is their office located in regards to the lab?
  • What projects are the advisor currently working on? What are their views/plans with regard to open science topics? 

 

Graduate Student FAQs

Where do you live in St. Louis?

St. Louis is comprised of many neighborhoods, all with exciting, unique offerings of housing, food, and entertainment. These include the Central West End, University City, Skinker-Debaliviere, Debaliviere Place, Delmar Loop area, Demun, Clayton, the Grove, Tower Grove, Downtown St. Louis, and various others!

Some students rent apartments or small houses, while some students opt to purchase a home in St. Louis. Below is a short list of some of the resources students recommend for finding your perfect place: 

Where are you from?

Graduate students in our program come from all over the world, including: Long Island, Texas, Bremen (Germany), China, Pennsylvania, India, New York (not the city), California, New York City, Oregon, North Carolina, Illinois, Turkey, Missouri, and beyond! 

What do you do for fun in St. Louis?

  • Explore restaurants, breweries, and cocktail bars
  • Walk or run in Forest Park
  • Go to the (free!) zoo or brand new aquarium
  • Use my student discount at the STL Symphony
  • Anything outside! The summer is packed with festivals and block parties
  • Find happy hours 
  • Hang out a coffee shop and sip a locally roasted brew
  • Eat St. Louis style pizza (Imo’s pizza is a polarizing experience)
  • Spend a few hours at one of the many (usually free!) museums
  • Take a short drive and hike in one of Missouri’s beautiful state parks
  • Get groceries at the farmer’s market
  • Go to a local bookstore (Left Bank Books, Subterranean, and others)
  • Get ice cream at Jeni’s
  • See a movie (Chase Park Plaza, AMC, and Hi Pointe offer $5 movie nights!)
  • Go out dancing

What do you do with your free time?

  • Watch good movies, spend time with people in the program, exercise
  • Painting and reading
  • Hang out with friends, run, repeatedly watch Schitt’s Creek over and over
  • Run, stress bake, go to concerts
  • Go to bars and breweries with friends, watch The Bachelor
  • Watch movies, exercise, play with pets, cook
  • Read, cook, go to bars with friends
  • Watch new tv/movies, read, hang with friends
  • Yoga, going to the movie theater, eating ice cream (Jeni’s!)
  • Sit in my recliner and binge watch Netflix / also Pure Barre
  • Cook, spend time with friends
  • Hang out with my dogs and do little arts and crafts projects, go to the WashU gym
  • Hangout with cohort or labmates, go dancing, read, video games, etc.

What's your favorite thing about the program?

  • Our department is warm and collaborative. This is reflected in how separate areas of research are very integrated.
  • Overwhelming response: The people!
  • Great funding opportunities for travel and research.
  • Free food and drinks