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Auditing/Sitting in on Grad Courses

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:09 pm
by xApprchsNfnty
Has any of you audited or sat in on graduate courses in schools where you were not a registered student?

Here's my situation:

BS in Math from a satellite campus of the University of Washington 3 years ago. Since then I've been teaching and independently studying topology and complex analysis (courses I never took as an undergrad, I did take both R analysis and Algebra series'). I won't be satisfied teaching high school math forever though so I'm going to apply to PhD programs this December (PhD primarily because I need the funding). I'm planning on taking the next semester off of work and sit in on 3 graduate courses at University of Wash Seattle. On the UW website, it seems like they have auditing/sit in policies in place that charge the full tuition to do so but there's no way I could/want to do that. I'm debating whether to contact the profs ahead of time over email or just show up on day one and ask them right before class if they would be cool with my sitting in, taking notes, etc. The purpose of all of this would be to see if I enjoy the material, the life, and being a student again, and to possibly make some connections at UW (on paper I'm not the most qualified applicant, but very capable).

Any thoughts/suggestions/anecdotes would be appreciated. Thanks.

Re: Auditing/Sitting in on Grad Courses

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:45 pm
by xApprchsNfnty
In the event that my follow up might be helpful to others, here it is:

All the profs responded to my request positively and each essentially said that as long as there's space in the class and I'm not a disturbance, they have no problem with my sitting in (I did also ask my former research advisor to send them a message essentially saying 'yeah, this guy's alright.' Not sure if she did it). They're not requiring me to turn in hw (quite the opposite in fact) even though I'm doing them, which is nice to not have those added deadlines, although I am still trying to hit them. I do believe they'll let me take the exams, though I don't think they'll grade them (which is totally fine with me too!!!). Long story short, it all worked out and I've been sitting in on 3 500 level courses pretending I'm a student again but without the added pressure of 'having' to perform at a certain level.

For what it's worth, I've already found significant value with this approach: it's helping me determine how prepared I am for when I attend for real, what I need to brush up on, what sort of cohort I need to interact with to feel included, what types of professors/teaching styles to expect at the graduate level, etc. It's essentially a dry run to see what it's all about in a situation where I literally have NOTHING to lose!

Hope this helps.