Jump to content

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/21/2018 in all areas

  1. 46 points
    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  2. 41 points
  3. 28 points
    punctilious

    2018 Acceptances

    HUSBAND GOT INTO HARVARD I CAN'T EVEN CONTAIN MYSELF HOLY OMGGGGGGGGGGG IS THIS REAL LIFE?????!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. 25 points
    Clinapp2017

    Interview Advice

    So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before). For phone interviews: Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation. At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. Skype interviews: Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. In-person interviews The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself.
  5. 24 points
    Warelin

    You are GREAT!

    In a few weeks, you'll find out where you're accepted, rejected or waitlisted. By now, I'm sure you're experiencing all sorts of highs and lows. This is a very stressful process. Sometimes, all you want is some news because you're starting to feel down about the process. Big News? You're alive. -There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived. -Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth. -You are unique and nobody in the entire world is like you are -The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have. (Which makes having a college degree even greater!) -Most people lack a bed of their own to sleep in -Many people on earth lack access to clean water. -Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy. -You have friends that will always have your back. (And if you don't, message me. Let's talk. And if you do, let's talk anyways) -You can enjoy pizza. Or Ice Cream. -There are people in your life who love you more than you could ever know -The Internet, n'uff said? But in all seriousness, try not to compare yourself to others. We have a tendency to look at how great the lives of other people are going without realizing the stresses they're hiding. No matter where you get in or don't get in, please be proud of yourselves. You've worked incredibly hard to get to where you are. An acceptance doesn't determine who you are and a rejection doesn't make you lesser than. It just means not this year. You might realize that your passions change over the course of a year. And you might discover those new interests are really interesting when you do reapply. You might discover some universities that previously rejected you might accept you the following year and viceversa. Lastly, a word on rankings: USNews rankings for English are determined by 14 percent of respondents who were department heads or director of graduate studies. As such, it's hard to take rankings those seriously when a lot of the rankings are based on "name brand". Most departments are only paying attention to a few select schools and placements may vary considerably across specific interests. Follow your heart when making a decision. Happiness is the number one thing that will make you succeed in a program and that happiness will translate to the quality of work you produce. Good luck all. You're going to do great!
  6. 24 points
    Friendly reminder that if you’re an applicant, even if it’s your second year of applying, you have absolutely no right to tell someone that a piece of their application must be weak if they aren’t getting offers. That’s not how the clinical psych world works. There are more competitive applicants than there are spots, so a lot of it is luck. Social capital also comes into play, so check your privilege. End rant.
  7. 24 points
    Very happy to report that I signed my soul over to Stanford last week! Now to learn how to surf...
  8. 23 points
    This is my third round of applications so I understand how easy it is to get down on yourself when those invites/acceptances aren't rolling in. For me, it is a constant process of reminding myself how competitive these programs are and reminding myself to be proud of my accomplishments up to this point. Even just following through to submit 18 applications is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT! I barely survived doing 10 this year... Your value is NOT dependent on your acceptance into a program or your recognition by a school. Every single one of us applying to these programs shows a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to bettering the quality of life in our society and that is something to be proud of in itself. Each time you go through these application cycles you become smarter, stronger, and a better person by learning patience, how to manage anxiety, and how to process rejection. Most of all, I just remind myself that rejection is a universal experience, one that is felt by EVERYONE at some point in their life. Knowing there are others out there, in the exact same position, experiencing the same wave of emotions as I, gives me confidence that we will all come out on the other side as better people. Be your own #1 cheerleader and remember to also build yourself up and not just your applications. Confidence will naturally follow, even in the face of self-doubt and rejection. ❤️
  9. 22 points
    Englishtea1

    2019 Acceptances

    It's about that time I suppose! I was notified via email from the chair of graduate studies of my acceptance to U of Illinois- Urbana Champaign PhD program...."champaign" befits this evening's festivities for me! Good luck to everyone...it's getting real!
  10. 22 points
    boutta make a burner email account to anonymously ask all my programs where they're at in the review process
  11. 21 points
    Englishtea1

    2019 Applicants

    Hi everyone! Long time lurker here! I posted the UIUC acceptance. Still in utter shock. I applied to many, many programs and I'm surprised that the first one I've heard back from is an acceptance.
  12. 20 points
    automatic

    2018 Acceptances

    I just got into Columbia!!!!! I actually did not post on the board, so that must be another. I have been rejected from all 7 of my other programs, and this was the last place I was waiting on, and I just got accepted. Oh my god. I am beyond happy, grateful, and shocked. I've been looking at options for next year assuming I'd have to apply again for another round. YOU GUYS.
  13. 19 points
    Husband officially accepted Harvard's offer! I'm so excited!!!
  14. 18 points
    hehe it turns out the invite was for me people pay money for this kind of shock and excitement
  15. 17 points
    pataka

    Let’s just TALK about it...

    YOU GUYS. I GOT IN!!! I was sitting on 5 rejections and 1 waitlist (for my top choice school) with very little communication about what was happening with the adcomm. I got a phone call from my POI today and they said I was their first choice (they did not extend an offer to anyone else) and that the reason for the delay/waitlist was that they had a lot to figure out internally. I'm still waiting on the official letter with the funding offer, but I'm so excited, and relieved, and a little bit in shock. This late in the game, I had more than prepared myself for applying again next year. Holy wow. This thread was a life-saver for me throughout the wait process; I appreciate it so much.
  16. 17 points
    E-P

    If you Don't get accepted

    Hi. This message is for everyone who has the sinking feeling that they won't be getting accepted this season. I don't know you. I wouldn't be able to pick you out of a crowd, and we've never met. But by the fact that you're here, I know that you're driven, and you're not afraid of change and sacrifice in your life. So know this: It will be okay. You will get through this. Your value as a scholar, student, or just a human being has nothing to do with you not getting an acceptance. Maybe it wasn't the right program, or the right year, or a good fit, or something else entirely. That's okay! There's next year, if you want. Or, if you're out, you will have an awesome career and life, simply because you are driven, and you aren't afraid of change. I heard a fable (if you're a historian, maybe you know the truth of this?) there was once a king who was prone to high-highs, and low-lows. It made his kingdom erratic He sent for his advisors and said, "I need something to even me out. I can't rule like this; either extreme is bad. Help." The advisors went away and deliberated for weeks. Finally, they returned to the king and presented him with a metal ring, unadorned, that simply said, "This too shall pass." And from that day, whenever he was too up or too down, he'd look down at his ring and remember...this moment is fleeting. You're a pretty awesome human. If you want to comment and tell me how you're feeling down, I will be happy to tell you all the reasons that I, a stranger, think you're awesome. I imagine others will tell you too! This too shall pass.
  17. 17 points
    Warelin

    2018 Acceptances

    Accepted at WUSTL.
  18. 17 points
    Sartori

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    She said Yes!!! She is Yale. Claiming an admit, slightly hysterically. Edit: notified by POI email.
  19. 16 points
    Guys, I got an official offer for Delaware ?? (not psych but wanted to share).
  20. 15 points
    Sigaba

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Rather than attempting to read the tea leaves of a process that is now beyond one's control, please consider the benefits of managing your stress by assuming that you're going to get into a program somewhere and somewhen; accepting the fact that all of you are already historians because you are focused on the study of change over time; understanding that the majority of what you learn as a historian will be self-taught (for better and for worse); realizing that nothing is stopping you from learning more about the craft while you wait for the results of a truly grueling process with moments of pain and even despair. Even if you don't know which continent or century or nation or event or dynamic will be at the center of your endeavors, there are still shelves and shelves of books, monographs, periodicals, and unpublished works that are waiting for you. The essential reads, the books that change everything, the works "one ignores at one's peril," the literary masterpieces, the methodological trainwrecks, the prize winners, the memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies of key academics--they are waiting for you. Believe it or not, in a couple of years, many of you will be dealing with stress and intellectual challenges and personal crises that will make you think of your present circumstances with wistful yearning. Now is a good time to start building up the skills and resources and resilience that will serve you well in those ghastly moments of terror that come when preparing for qualifying exams.
  21. 15 points
    psykick

    Interview Advice

    Here are some of my thoughts! I've experienced every type of interview for grad apps and hope this insight is helpful. These interviews are undeniably stressful, but as other posters mentioned, by getting an interview invite the PI(s) have determined you have the qualifications to succeed in graduate school. This next step is giving everyone involved more insight in your specific fit all more insight into your potential working relationship and your feel for the place! General Question Advice: First, double checking the answers are not on the department website/lab page/etc are the way to go. There are lists floating around with some awesome questions, so I recommend searching Twitter, this website or application guides. Main topics besides the biggies about the program, culture, and climate are things like financial aspects in the program like the stipend (including summer funding), funds to support research/conference travel, and more. It felt a bit awkward asking students about these at first, but it's an important factor to consider and most students (would not ask faculty) are more than happy to share their thoughts. Asking about practicum opportunities and institutional support to everyone is important too. I was most prepared and knowledgeable about my primary PIs research and ongoing projects, though you should expect to get at least a brief rundown when you speak with them anyway. I also prepared responses linking my past experiences/interests with the work they're doing now. Prepare, but remember there's no way to fully know everything until you're there. I had more than one PI share a research direction that I wasn't aware of on the interview date. For faculty I interviewed with besides my POI, I was familiar with their area broadly and generated only a couple questions about their research. I prioritized asking them more questions about the program overall such as their thoughts on collaboration, training philosophy, culture of the dept and city. Most interviews begin with asking about your background and interests, so go ahead and sharpen that spiel up and be prepared for them to ask follow-up questions, especially if your work is WAY out of their wheelhouse. For example, someone asked me to explain a key theory I used in research whereas my POI did not. Be aware of the tone/wording of your questions! It helped me to write most down, then it became a routine at different institutions. General Interview Advice: Breathe, and feel free to take a moment or two to THINK before you respond! It's hard to not start replying as soon as the question is asked, but it's better to pause than trailing off/not making sense. I learned this the hard way. I waited until an interview passed before ending an email filled with questions (even though this is truly a preference, either way works). That way you'll be able to hear a verbal (and likely longer) response to your highly prioritized questions (e.g., their mentorship style, research expectations, opportunities in the program) and can ask quick clarifying ones on the backend. It's especially useful if if they mention not knowing a full answer or you run out of time Emphasizing the suggestion to not be afraid to ask the same questions to different faculty, students, and other folks that you meet! I know it's sort of a "Duh!" piece of advice, but I spent way too much time trying to think of lots of witty and original questions at first. I gained the most information when I heard different perspectives because it allowed me to notice patterns in responses. For example, I asked the textbook "What are the strengths and areas of growth in the program?" question which resulted in some really insightful answers. After the interview, take 10 minutes to write a reflection with your first impressions, lingering questions, anything you think will be helpful when considering your decisions. I got this advice early on and thought it was EXTREMELY helpful to have when trying to remember a vibe of a place/how I felt in the moment. I Phone/Skype Interviews: I agree with all things mentioned above, especially writing down questions/notes and outlining main topics! Having your CV up is also a great idea too. Test out your connection/video prior to the actual call. Even if you pick an ideal place, avoiding an awkward video angle and a spotty Wifi connection is crucial. While most PIs will be prompt starting and ending the interview, make sure there's buffer time on both ends. They're humans too, so at times they may be running late, their connection is spotty, or the most ideal - your conversation is so engaging it runs over In Person Interviews: Interviews do vary in a lot of ways, but a common element is some sort of campus tour that in my experience is always done very quickly. For that reason, I recommend folks of all genders wear comfortable shoes that are okay for campus terrains (bricks, sidewalks, etc.) to avoid any discomfort and make sure you keep up up with the group. Be friendly and gracious to everyone you meet, including the admin staff coordinating the interviews/meals/transitions. It'll be obvious if you're saving all of your niceties for faculty and grad students in your potential lab(s), plus those admin folks are the ones who keep the department running. As noted above, it's especially important to leave a good impression with your hosts. I've seen applicants complain the entire time and it does get back. On a related note, engage with other applicants too. A pleasant surprise for me was how cool it was to talk with other applicants, especially if they had similar interests. These are likely your future colleagues in some capacity, might as well build the relationship now. Protect your energy! Don't be afraid to take some space to gather your thoughts, your breath, and basically decompress. I had some angelic grad student hosts who recognized how draining interviews can be and encouraged me to sit in the room with the lights off in between events to recharge. If you're feeling overwhelmed on the actual day, it's well within your right to nicely ask for a private space to regroup! A possible option is a grad student office or an upstairs bathroom. It's also okay to leave some social events relatively early. Write/record a reflection! You get so much "data" from these in person interviews that may slip through the cracks even a week later. Bullet point, write paragraphs...whatever works for you. Endorse bringing a bag filled with essentials (including snacks!) I got peckish during the day and having a granola bar saved me from some discomfort. It's awesome how gracious, welcoming, and genuine interviewers can be. Most recognize you're under a microscope (all day, if it's in person) and are typically trying to do their best to present their institution as somewhere you can feel comfortable/thrive. As everyone said but I didn't believe until the end, you're interviewing the program too. Wishing all of you the best on this ride, I'm welcome to any PMs and follow-up questions too!
  22. 15 points
    Ok, just about to formally accept my offer from UW-Madison! This process has been something else, and I'm so glad it's over. Best wishes to everyone here with grad studies/whatever else you end up doing!
  23. 15 points
    maicafe14

    Fulbright 2018-2019

    Finalist for the Fulbright to Belgium!
  24. 15 points
    renea

    2018 Acceptances

    Finally heard back from Florida State- accepted with funding, which means my husband and I finally both have acceptances to the same school!
  25. 15 points
    Colorado State: "Apparently you don't even have to apply in order to be rejected from certain schools. What a cluster F it must be over there that they're emailing people who have simply requested information that they're 'rejected'."


×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.