Did anyone go to their open house? And was anyone as turned off by it as I was? Somehow, out of 14 hours of scheduled activities for the day there was exactly zero time for one-on-one interaction with either faculty or grad students. For lunch we had a grad student lead us to a colloquium (which was given by a guy from Caltech and had nothing to do with the open house), and then tell us that we could sit in if we wanted. Since it was already half over, me and my fellow prospies ended up eating lunch alone in an empty office. Stuff like this, along with the fact that no profs tried to court me by calling me up before or after the visit, really sent up red flags. I'm trying to contact profs and students right now to get more info, but so far no luck.
The problem is, Chicago definitely looks the best on paper, at least for research. I'm interested in theoretical cosmology with a preference for early universe stuff, and the other places I'm looking at are Harvard (astro) and Santa Cruz (physics). Chicago has the whole Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Harvard doesn't have much for early universe stuff, and Santa Cruz looks good but isn't as big or prestigious. The faculty and students at Harvard and Santa Cruz were both way more friendly and more open to talking with me. This all makes Santa Cruz sound the best, but I'd feel kind of silly turning down the other two for it. Ugh. Of course, having a significant other makes things much more complicated, and the whole thing might end up being decided upon what's best for her.
Anyways, anyone else have similar misgivings about Chicago? Deciding is hard.