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Not sure how to respond to an email from a PI saying he would like to meet with me.

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One of the schools I have applied to definitely has formal interview weekends. As far as I can tell from the Results section here, the school has not yet sent out any interview invitations, and based on last year, they probably won't do that until the last week of January. 
In the meantime, I got a really nice and very positive email from a PI saying that I am the kind of candidate he hires, and that he would like to meet with me if I visit the school. I did not name him in my personal statement, but his lab does look very interesting.  I responded by thanking him, of course, and said I would be in touch about visiting the school and look forward to meeting him.

I figure I would wait to see if I do get an official interview invitation to the school, and then set up a meeting with this professor then. 
But I'm wondering -- should I do more now? Should I try to meet with him before even hearing from the school? (It would be about a 2.5 hour train ride.) 

Thanks for any advice/insight!
Edited by MJB100
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  • 3 weeks later...

Congrats on snagging an interview! 

Just a few thoughts: 

I would not try to meet earlier, in person, with the professor. It seems like he would like to meet up in person during the graduate visitation day. Instead, I would ask him if he would be interested in doing a Skype chat to talk about some of his ongoing research (especially if he was not a PI on your SoP). If he says yes, that's a perfect way of establishing contact with him and could leave a more impactful impression as they go into the admission process. The one thing researchers love to do is talk about their research, so if he has the time, I assume he would be game for it. Plus, this is an easy way to get an idea of what his personality is like which is important. Even more so, it could lessen the potential awkwardness of meeting someone in person for the first time. Having chatted via Skype could enable you to have a more fluid in-person conversation with him if you choose to visit the school. 

Idk, that's my two cents. Good Luck! 



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