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Should I go to both interviews or just one?


gasmasque
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Hi GradCafe, I need your advice on something. I got invited to two interviews on the same weekend: one is on Friday and one is on Saturday -- however, in order to make the Saturday interview the only flight available would afford me 4-5 hours of sleep tops. The first interview is for a backup school, and the second interview is for a top-choice school. Would you go to both and risk loss of sleep for a bad interview performance Saturday, or would you just go to the second interview?

The first school will not let me reschedule the interview, does not have any alternative interview days, and does not do Skype interviews. So it's either me going to the first + second interview, or the second interview by itself and decline the first.

If it helps any, my GPA is in the admitted-candidate range, my GRE scores (general & subject) are all in the low to high 90th percentile, and I have two years of research experience outside of undergrad (work as lab manager), one second-author publication submitted and five first author posters.

Thanks so much!

-gasmasque

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14 minutes ago, gasmasque said:

Hi GradCafe, I need your advice on something. I got invited to two interviews on the same weekend: one is on Friday and one is on Saturday -- however, in order to make the Saturday interview the only flight available would afford me 4-5 hours of sleep tops. The first interview is for a backup school, and the second interview is for a top-choice school. Would you go to both and risk loss of sleep for a bad interview performance Saturday, or would you just go to the second interview?

The first school will not let me reschedule the interview, does not have any alternative interview days, and does not do Skype interviews. So it's either me going to the first + second interview, or the second interview by itself and decline the first.

If it helps any, my GPA is in the admitted-candidate range, my GRE scores (general & subject) are all in the low to high 90th percentile, and I have two years of research experience outside of undergrad (work as lab manager), one second-author publication submitted and five first author posters.

Thanks so much!

-gasmasque

Congrats on your interviews! Have you already accepted the interview with school #1? I think the field is so connected that I would personally be fearful of not following through with a compromise (if you’ve already compromised to attend). In this case, I would attend both.

On the other hand, if you have not promised attendance to school #1 or if you feel that lack of sleep would greatly affect your performance (you know yourself best), then I think that would call for you making the decision to prioritize your second interview as it’s one of your top choices. Again, congrats on your interviews and good luck!!

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10 hours ago, gasmasque said:

Hi GradCafe, I need your advice on something. I got invited to two interviews on the same weekend: one is on Friday and one is on Saturday -- however, in order to make the Saturday interview the only flight available would afford me 4-5 hours of sleep tops. The first interview is for a backup school, and the second interview is for a top-choice school. Would you go to both and risk loss of sleep for a bad interview performance Saturday, or would you just go to the second interview?

The first school will not let me reschedule the interview, does not have any alternative interview days, and does not do Skype interviews. So it's either me going to the first + second interview, or the second interview by itself and decline the first.

If it helps any, my GPA is in the admitted-candidate range, my GRE scores (general & subject) are all in the low to high 90th percentile, and I have two years of research experience outside of undergrad (work as lab manager), one second-author publication submitted and five first author posters.

Thanks so much!

-gasmasque

So, neither school has an alternate interview day?

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Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. I was in your spot 2 years ago when I was interviewing, and this exact circumstance happened to me not once, but twice. You’ll make it through it, but I would encourage you to tell the second school you’ll be coming from another interview, that way if there’s any travel disruption they will know why WAY in advance. This time of the year is notorious for flight delays and cancellations. 

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6 hours ago, Clinapp2017 said:

Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. I was in your spot 2 years ago when I was interviewing, and this exact circumstance happened to me not once, but twice. You’ll make it through it, but I would encourage you to tell the second school you’ll be coming from another interview, that way if there’s any travel disruption they will know why WAY in advance. This time of the year is notorious for flight delays and cancellations. 

Good point. I think I’m also afraid that because it’s one of the last flights of the day, that the flight might be cancelled altogether and I’d miss that second interview completely. But you’d take the chance and hope for the best? 

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7 hours ago, PsychM said:

So, neither school has an alternate interview day?

The first school does not have an alternative interview day and the second I already said yes to. 

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50 minutes ago, gasmasque said:

The first school does not have an alternative interview day and the second I already said yes to. 

I think it would be okay to ask the second school if there is an alternate day you can come to campus to interview even though you already committed. I wouldn't ask for a Skype interview but for an alternate in-person interview day. I have a friend who had a similar thing last year and that is what she did. Maybe just explain that something came up unexpectedly and you are wanting to know if there is an alternate option (perhaps the day after their scheduled interview day). If they say no, then I think you should try to go to both interviews. Clinical psych PhD programs are SO competitive so it may not be wise to completely give up an interview spot. If these are for a program other than clinical psych, then I am not really sure what the best option is and I would suggest going with your gut!

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6 hours ago, PsychM said:

I think it would be okay to ask the second school if there is an alternate day you can come to campus to interview even though you already committed. I wouldn't ask for a Skype interview but for an alternate in-person interview day. I have a friend who had a similar thing last year and that is what she did. Maybe just explain that something came up unexpectedly and you are wanting to know if there is an alternate option (perhaps the day after their scheduled interview day). If they say no, then I think you should try to go to both interviews. Clinical psych PhD programs are SO competitive so it may not be wise to completely give up an interview spot. If these are for a program other than clinical psych, then I am not really sure what the best option is and I would suggest going with your gut!

Hey -- this is what I ended up doing! I'll see if the second school is willing to move things around. Thank you so much! 

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If you can’t reschedule either, do both. Last year I took a red eye with a connecting flight from the west coast to the east coast. Slept a few hours on the plane and flew in my interview outfit. Honestly I wouldn’t do it again but neither school offered an alternate day. ??‍♀️ You’ll be okay. Just drink some coffee and honestly you’ll have enough adrenaline that you’ll be just fine. 

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You should try to reschedule  the second interview even though you committed, they understand that life happens and should be willing to reschedule your interview. If not I would try to do both maybe you can sleep on the plane. Just go for it!

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Seems like you already made the decision, but for peace of mind, I had a similar situation but it was two interviews on the same exact date. I had already committed to one, and then received an invite to the other one two weeks later and had this dilemma. The first one I had committed to was local, so I decided to ask them if there were alternative days. I was also upfront with them that I had another interview the same day because what other conflict would be more important than another interview (weddings are planned in advanced, and funerals I have a policy not to lie about). They should understand that you are applying to other places. I also let the program know that I was also reaching out to the other university to see about alternative dates, so they didn't get the sense I cared less about this one. The contact person was pretty understanding and quickly provided me with new dates to meet with my POI's (three of them, and the program director). So it all worked out!! It feels a little weird to do this, but I'm sure these things happen all the time. I just hope it doesn't impact anything in the decision making process. 

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