Interview was maybe about 30 minutes. I'm also curious about whether all kids that are admitted must pass through the interview... that would be the most revealing information. If all who are admitted do not go through the interview, it seems like it's only about deciding on the kids who might be worth a little bit more prying (and it seems like it could potentially be more harmful than helpful for them). I saw someone got on the waitlist over a week before I had my interview which I think is strange. Also the time between the deadline of the app and the interview seemed very short.
Am I wrong to say I think the urging about the other schools was unprofessional? It's hard to say what role the other acceptance played in this — I would imagine it could also have pushed them further to offer me admissions. I gave no signal about my rank of schools or anything. I knew the program well. But also, one of the professors was a Derrida scholar. I mention Derrida in a single sentence in my Plato paper, because he's relevant, and he grilled me on expanding on Derrida. I wasn't going to bullshit through it, but he certainly didn't let me get away with not trying. It was a very pedantic and strange power dynamic, since that is not my philosophical strong suit, nor did I indicate that in my research interests. To be fair, they told me to review my paper before hand but I was taken aback that they would really hone in on a specific reference, and not the structure or cogency of the argument more broadly. The connection also made thins awkward in regards to delays and eye contact.
Other q's I remember:
- What classes would you like to see being offered. I responded by saying that I'd like to see more courses on neoplatonism and the intersection between phil and religion in the 18th century. One of them replied that such courses will in fact be offered— the tone seemed to either suggest that he was trying to convince me but also challenging my answer in some way...
-What other branches of philosophy do you hope to explore at this school - I mentioned areas they were strong in, they seemed happy about it. They told me more, which is strange, because it seemed like they were teaching me about the program as if I had applied blindly and didn't do my own research. It seemed again like they didn't read my application.
-Why this school - which I answered pretty clearly. They didn't ask to elaborate about why I wanted the PhD in particular or why philosophy etc. So this maybe is another way of them trying to pry and see if I were really interested. But again, my stats/credentials are pretty non-spectacular, although my letter writers have close ties with the school.
-Whether I was okay with living in such a rural environment (again, they didn't seem to realize that my undergrad education was in that environment).
^these all in retrospect seemed routine and covered up the prying about my schools, which I intentionally left blank when I applied. Then they let me ask some questions, which I did but mostly out of formalities, since again, I knew the program well.
There was one instance that might have been construed as awkward, where I mentioned that I looked up to a not-so-hot/very mediocre scholar who graduated from the program. They were quick to correct me, and I realized that I may have been wrong. Which I think was fine, especially since said scholar's work would make a lot of sense coming out of that particular program. All in all it wasn't a good experience, and I'm truly not saying that because of the rejection. I do hope more schools do interviews because I liked getting the opportunity to meet the profs that I wouldn't be able to because of travel costs, but I'm not sure they did it the right way.
Anyways curious to here more narratives about phil interviews.