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Fi19

On-campus interview/Skype interview

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Hi all! My PI contacted me and offered me an interview. He explained that I can either choose to attend a Skype interview or an in-person interview, and he will treat applicants attending the two equally.

I chose the Skype option due to work. However, the program’s website specifically wrote that applicants not attending the on-campus interview will be disadvantaged due to faculty unable to determine fit. I also know that with the Skype option, I’ll talk with two faculty for 30 minutes, including my PI; and at the on-campus interview, I’ll have multiple formal and informal interviews with faculty and current students.

I now feel that I should have gone with the on-campus interview, but I already told my PI that I’ll do the Skype interview. Do you all think it’s necessary to worry about this or to email my PI again just to confirm? 

 

Thanks so much! Good luck everyone!

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I think an on-campus interview is always better because they will get the chance to interact with you and get to know you better (and vice versa). It all depends how much you value your current job (and your current financial status for travel expenses)..for me, personally, if it means a better chance at getting in, I would much rather skip a day or two of work and go to the in-person interview.

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I agree that in-person interviews are typically better. The interviews are just as much for you as for them, and in-person interviews allow you to get a sense of the lab environment, the program, and how your PI interacts with others. I might be biased though because my skype interviews were all SO awkward (maybe it’s just me be) and I know I didn’t give as good of an impression as in person. Some people also judge your interest based on whether or not you attend in person, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here.

I wouldn’t worry about it this time since the professor said you wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. It’s just something to consider in the future. 

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15 hours ago, Fi19 said:

I now feel that I should have gone with the on-campus interview, but I already told my PI that I’ll do the Skype interview. Do you all think it’s necessary to worry about this or to email my PI again just to confirm? 

If I was you, I would send an e-mail "I was actually able to coordinate my schedule and will be able to take the opportunity of meeting you in person.." Something along those lines. GO IN PERSON! In person >>>>>>> Skype, especially if you know other applicants will be meeting your POI in person. It's just part of the process, in-person allows you a deeper connection versus Skype.

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Although they said you wouldn't be at a disadvantage, the truth is you will be. They may not view you unfavorably for not attending the in-person interview, but as everyone expressed above, there is much more information that can be obtained through an in-person interview. Personally, I do soooo much better at talking to people and communicating my thoughts in person than over the phone/computer. A Skype interview puts you in a disadvantage because neither your POI or you will really feel like you know what you are getting into. Your Skype interview may be terrible, but maybe the lab environment is amazing just the POI is a little awkward. The opposite of this could be true (great Skype interview, terrible environment). In-person is better for both the POI and yourself. That way, if you get offered admission, you'll be able to consider different factors you picked up from the in-person interview and not go in blindly.

 

TLDR: If you can attend the in-person interview, do it!!! It will be much more beneficial.

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I was offered an on-campus interview during a time when I'm overseas presenting at a conference.  I told me POI this and have scheduled an alternate date to come to campus to meet her, the faculty, her students, and see the campus/town to get an overall feel for the place to decide if it might be the right fit for me.  There's more to be gained from the on-campus interview than just getting more face time with the faculty.  If you can't make it work in your schedule to visit during the official interview date, it might be worth seeing if you can find another time to visit.

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Thanks so much for everyone’s feedback! They’re all really helpful. Thank you!!!

Edited by Fi19

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