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Should I contact schools who haven't invited me?


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This is sort of a strange question that I would've never thought about, but earlier today I was invited to interview at Rockefeller in NYC. When I told my current PI, she said I should also contact Columbia (which I applied to but was never invited to interview for -- from the results section, it seems like a fair number of invites for Systems Biology went out last month too) letting them know I would be in the region. Her rationale: since they won't have to fly me in (I'm an international student) and pay for accommodation, they might be more interested in setting up an interview. Is this something that people do? To me, it seems kind of awkward to send an email *letting them know I'll be in the area* when I'm almost certain they had no plans to interview me at all. But if this is indeed something that is done fairly commonly and might improve my chances of getting in at Columbia, I guess I should try it? Please help me not be rude!

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If you are pretty certain that invites have all gone out, I wouldn't. However, if you phrase it as "I would like to follow up on the status of my application because I will be interviewing at another university in NYC..." or something along those lines, I guess it can't hurt. If they weren't planning on extending an invite, the worst that can happen is that they don't change their mind. 

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