I have a recruiting/visit weekend coming up for one of my prospective PhD programs (to which I've already been admitted). Travel is covered, and my hotel is paid for. Food is provided the entire weekend. I had intended to bring my girlfriend. She is my SO of 6 years; we live together and moving somewhere for school would be a big decision on both of our parts and she really should be visiting the city/school before I accept anything.

She of course doesn't need specific details about every aspect of the program, as I will no doubt receive, or to meet faculty, and of course the university has no reason to pay for her weekend. My parents also were hinting that they wanted to come, but that's an even bigger stretch, it seems.

Am I overthinking this? Or is it really not appropriate to be bringing a +1 to a recruiting weekend. I can always bring my family members there soon after to show them around.

  • 1
    I don't really understand the question. Du you want to bring her / your family to the official events (of which you say they might not be of interest for them) or will they just be in the same town at the same point in time (with which I would see no problem)?
    – OBu
    Feb 16, 2018 at 11:18
  • I only have one data point and it is perhaps not suitable as an answer, but: I brought my wife with me on my visit to the school I eventually ended up going to, and my soon-to-be PI's group were very welcoming of both of us to the various social gatherings (a few meals) that we attended.
    – Mad Jack
    Feb 16, 2018 at 13:54
  • 3
    Why don't you ask your hosts? As @Dawn suggests below, you would want to ask them about your SO's attendance at particular events anyway, and even if the hosts say they'd prefer not [for some reason, can't imagine would it would be] it's certainly not an unreasonable question.
    – Ben Bolker
    Feb 16, 2018 at 16:20
  • @OBu Well the university is paying for my lodging, so they would then be paying for hers as well with her being in the same town at the same time as me. Feb 17, 2018 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Bringing a significant other who would be relocating with you to a recruiting weekend is acceptable. In fact, some schools/departments would encourage it. We routinely welcomed SO to our recruiting weekend and saw it as a "good sign" when prospects brought such a person.

I would not bring your parents (would make you seem juvenile, and I have never seen this in practice) and I would also hesitate to bring a significant other who would not be relocating with you.

The next question is which events the SO should attend. This is probably a good question for whoever is planning the recruiting weekend. I would expect the SO to attend social and student-only events (meals, tours, social evening), but not academic events.

  • Thanks for your helpful response, I will contact the department Feb 17, 2018 at 20:35

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