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*I is stressed* venting thread for Fall 2020 Applicants

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2 hours ago, Randi S said:

I would tentatively say yes? They are most likely waiting to hear about the fellowship so that they can discuss funding with you. Or perhaps that would be the source of funding, and if it doesn't come through they can't make you an offer.

ok, so it sounds like *cautious* optimism is the best right now 🙃

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Today I had my first interview day of the application season and I was nervous but excited. I really liked the program and the students spoke very well of the faculty. I had individual interviews with three of the faculty members. The first faculty I met with I was very interested in their research, it closely mirrored my own research interests. I had the worst interview of my life with him (let it be known that I cried in an interview once from stress). The interview started off rocky because he immediately started grilling me about my interest in the program. Like I barely had time to sit down. Then he proceeded to tell me that one of my letter writers did not write a good letter for me (this is a whole separate issue) and that because of that he did not have enough information about me to think I would be a good fit for his lab. Then he proceeded to what felt like interrogate me on why I was even qualified to apply for PhD programs. He cut me off multiple times as I was trying to answer him. I was so flustered by the whole letter writer thing that I could barely fumble together answers for his questions. I felt like a bumbling idiot. I felt so stressed out and depressed after this interview but I still had two more faculty interviews after this one. I managed to pull myself together and do well in the other two interviews and I liked the other faculty. Now I feel like I ruined my chances at this school that I really liked and would want to go to. Has anyone every experienced something like this? What do you say when someone is just grilling you about your qualifications/ability to work in a lab but does not give you anytime to answer? 

Now I am worried that the letter writer may have negatively impacted my chances at other schools. I am annoyed because when I asked the person I made sure to stress that if they felt they could not write a good letter I would be happy to find someone else. I had an extra writer who wrote this really amazing letter for me that I could have used instead. I am stressed about my two interviews next week now. Should I ask the professor who wrote the "bad" letter if I can read what he wrote? I know who it is as I have read the letters by the other professors. 

If anyone needs me I am going to be drowning my sorrows in a tub of ice cream and cheesy romance movies. 

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2 minutes ago, StudiestStudy said:

Then he proceeded to tell me that one of my letter writers did not write a good letter for me (this is a whole separate issue) and that because of that he did not have enough information about me to think I would be a good fit for his lab.

Deep breaths.  He isn't saying the letter writer trashed you, he's saying the letter writer didn't write an informative letter.  Could that hurt you? Maybe. But if your other two letters are strong and informative, and you have the other chops to back it up, I wouldn't freak out just yet. Let's face it, some people just aren't good at writing this kind of thing, or they get distracted or rushed and forget to add in crucial details.  It sucks, but it's just one letter. Think positive!

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9 minutes ago, StudiestStudy said:

Today I had my first interview day of the application season and I was nervous but excited. I really liked the program and the students spoke very well of the faculty. I had individual interviews with three of the faculty members. The first faculty I met with I was very interested in their research, it closely mirrored my own research interests. I had the worst interview of my life with him (let it be known that I cried in an interview once from stress). The interview started off rocky because he immediately started grilling me about my interest in the program. Like I barely had time to sit down. Then he proceeded to tell me that one of my letter writers did not write a good letter for me (this is a whole separate issue) and that because of that he did not have enough information about me to think I would be a good fit for his lab. Then he proceeded to what felt like interrogate me on why I was even qualified to apply for PhD programs. He cut me off multiple times as I was trying to answer him. I was so flustered by the whole letter writer thing that I could barely fumble together answers for his questions. I felt like a bumbling idiot. I felt so stressed out and depressed after this interview but I still had two more faculty interviews after this one. I managed to pull myself together and do well in the other two interviews and I liked the other faculty. Now I feel like I ruined my chances at this school that I really liked and would want to go to. Has anyone every experienced something like this? What do you say when someone is just grilling you about your qualifications/ability to work in a lab but does not give you anytime to answer? 

Now I am worried that the letter writer may have negatively impacted my chances at other schools. I am annoyed because when I asked the person I made sure to stress that if they felt they could not write a good letter I would be happy to find someone else. I had an extra writer who wrote this really amazing letter for me that I could have used instead. I am stressed about my two interviews next week now. Should I ask the professor who wrote the "bad" letter if I can read what he wrote? I know who it is as I have read the letters by the other professors. 

If anyone needs me I am going to be drowning my sorrows in a tub of ice cream and cheesy romance movies. 

Ugh, he sounds like someone who would be an awful advisor. This was an awful interview because of him, not you! You're amazing and brilliant and absolutely qualified to be in a PhD program. Doesn't sound like someone I'd want to work with for 5-6 years. I want to be somewhere where I'm appreciated, not that makes me cry during first impressions, but I know this is a very personal process.

About the letter, that is unfortunate if it's true (not that you're lying but that he might be exaggerating), but hopefully your LOR writer wouldn't have agreed to submit a letter if they didn't believe in you. 

Try to stay strong but if you need some time to sit in the disappointment, then you take it! I'm in my own pit today :).

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7 minutes ago, StudiestStudy said:

Today I had my first interview day of the application season and I was nervous but excited. I really liked the program and the students spoke very well of the faculty. I had individual interviews with three of the faculty members. The first faculty I met with I was very interested in their research, it closely mirrored my own research interests. I had the worst interview of my life with him (let it be known that I cried in an interview once from stress). The interview started off rocky because he immediately started grilling me about my interest in the program. Like I barely had time to sit down. Then he proceeded to tell me that one of my letter writers did not write a good letter for me (this is a whole separate issue) and that because of that he did not have enough information about me to think I would be a good fit for his lab. Then he proceeded to what felt like interrogate me on why I was even qualified to apply for PhD programs. He cut me off multiple times as I was trying to answer him. I was so flustered by the whole letter writer thing that I could barely fumble together answers for his questions. I felt like a bumbling idiot. I felt so stressed out and depressed after this interview but I still had two more faculty interviews after this one. I managed to pull myself together and do well in the other two interviews and I liked the other faculty. Now I feel like I ruined my chances at this school that I really liked and would want to go to. Has anyone every experienced something like this? What do you say when someone is just grilling you about your qualifications/ability to work in a lab but does not give you anytime to answer? 

Now I am worried that the letter writer may have negatively impacted my chances at other schools. I am annoyed because when I asked the person I made sure to stress that if they felt they could not write a good letter I would be happy to find someone else. I had an extra writer who wrote this really amazing letter for me that I could have used instead. I am stressed about my two interviews next week now. Should I ask the professor who wrote the "bad" letter if I can read what he wrote? I know who it is as I have read the letters by the other professors. 

If anyone needs me I am going to be drowning my sorrows in a tub of ice cream and cheesy romance movies. 

First off, I am so sorry that happened to you. That sounds super stressful and I would have been very flustered as well if put into that situation. My guess is that you still have a chance at that school, just maybe not in his particular lab. From the sounds of it, you wouldn't want to work with him anyways as he seems like a jerk (Side note: why would they say that you're not qualified to get a PhD when they're the ones who invited you to interview? Seems like more of a mean comment than genuinely trying to see if you're a good match). 

The only advice I can give you is that when they ask you hard questions like that they're trying to see whether someone knows the hard work that goes into a PhD and has confidence in what they bring to the table. Another thing to think about is that sometimes the interviewers ask the hardest questions to the people they think are most compatible to work with them because they're trying to narrow down who would be best. I think you should ask to read the letter from the other professor (if you didn't waive your rights to view all application materials while submitting your application you wouldn't even need to ask them to send it to you) because you need to know what they said in it to make him say that. It may be too late in this application season to change your recommenders but it's good to know if you need to apply again in future years. Don't get too discouraged! I hope you have better luck in the coming months.

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On 1/30/2020 at 7:05 PM, Psychological Yam said:

is it a good sign if a school i interviewed at hasn't accepted me yet but told me that they nominated me for a fellowship and are waiting to hear back? 

This happened to me and I got accepted the next day! So I would consider it a very good sign

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12 hours ago, StudiestStudy said:

Today I had my first interview day of the application season and I was nervous but excited. I really liked the program and the students spoke very well of the faculty. I had individual interviews with three of the faculty members. The first faculty I met with I was very interested in their research, it closely mirrored my own research interests. I had the worst interview of my life with him (let it be known that I cried in an interview once from stress). The interview started off rocky because he immediately started grilling me about my interest in the program. Like I barely had time to sit down. Then he proceeded to tell me that one of my letter writers did not write a good letter for me (this is a whole separate issue) and that because of that he did not have enough information about me to think I would be a good fit for his lab. Then he proceeded to what felt like interrogate me on why I was even qualified to apply for PhD programs. He cut me off multiple times as I was trying to answer him. I was so flustered by the whole letter writer thing that I could barely fumble together answers for his questions. I felt like a bumbling idiot. I felt so stressed out and depressed after this interview but I still had two more faculty interviews after this one. I managed to pull myself together and do well in the other two interviews and I liked the other faculty. Now I feel like I ruined my chances at this school that I really liked and would want to go to. Has anyone every experienced something like this? What do you say when someone is just grilling you about your qualifications/ability to work in a lab but does not give you anytime to answer? 

Now I am worried that the letter writer may have negatively impacted my chances at other schools. I am annoyed because when I asked the person I made sure to stress that if they felt they could not write a good letter I would be happy to find someone else. I had an extra writer who wrote this really amazing letter for me that I could have used instead. I am stressed about my two interviews next week now. Should I ask the professor who wrote the "bad" letter if I can read what he wrote? I know who it is as I have read the letters by the other professors. 

If anyone needs me I am going to be drowning my sorrows in a tub of ice cream and cheesy romance movies. 

FWIW - I think these questions that are behavioral in nature are really weird/inappropriate in most settings, but depending on your clinical/research interests it might be a good test. I’m not sure if you’re working with people with severe mental illness or personality disorders, but from my experience with these populations it’s imperative to keep your cool even when a patient is really pushing your buttons. Not that I think what the PI said was necessarily appropriate, but in this context it could be worthwhile in my opinion to see how someone handles a very confrontational event. 
 

edit: Also, it sounds like you did the best you could, which is good, and the other interviews went well, which is all we can hope for in this really stressful process!

Edited by Clinapp2017

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On 1/21/2020 at 6:18 PM, mmmmcoffee said:

anyone else feel like time until interviews is passing soooooo slowly? i recieved my invite before christmas and the interview isn't until valentine's day. I'm dying here

additionally, it's probably irrational, but i'm scared my only invite (thus far) was only extended to me because I personally know the POI (my current PI's former mentor). Obviously I didn't just apply to work with her because of my PI - i love the program and have met a lot of people from it in person at conferences and I feel that the fit is fantastic - but there's that nagging in the back of my mind telling me that that's the only reason I'm invited. the more time i wait the more i think about all these things!

tldr: I'm gonna need a massage after april 15; this process is stressing me out!

 

On 1/21/2020 at 8:11 PM, PsyZei said:

This is actually one of the things both my academic and thesis advisors have explained to me (in one case very bluntly in a "here's academia culture you should be aware of" type speech)- networking is one of the key ways of being more likely to get interview invites (or at least a second look at your application to make sure they really didn't want to invite you for an interview). So, I wouldn't feel like this is "the only reason" you were invited and I definitely wouldn't feel like that's a bad thing if it did tip the scale.

Every program I have an interview invite to, so far, are programs where I either REALLY chatted up the faculty at conferences &/or at other presentations/guest lectures/etc... (and tried to make sure they would be able to connect me to my application when it rolled around) OR are places that my advisors know the faculty at well, and so were able to create a personal link for me similar to what you are describing (like the interview I'm going to next week is where three of my faculty got their PhD's from, two in the exact program and specialization). Additionally, 2 of the 3 places I haven't heard from (and am starting to assume rejections) I have no human relational/connections to. Before this process, I wasn't expecting networking to have such a big impact (I have little academia or middle/upper class cultural capital, so I was very grateful to have a couple professors who are aware of and take the time to explain stuff like this), but I also relate it to the fact that we are in a social/human science field and the importance of human connection is a thing.

tldr: you're not being irrational and you should focus on rocking the interview- cause you are definitely in the running for getting accepted 😃

I just wanted to reiterate this again, networking appears to be a key factor in getting interviews. Now that I have all the numbers in and have heard back from all my schools, the way it shakes out is that out of the 8 schools I applied to I had networked with 6 of the schools either personally or through my faculty having connections to them. I was rejected without an interview to the two schools I have no network connection to. I was invited for an interview for all six of the schools that I have some sort of a network connection with (either from me hunting them down and talking to them at conferences, or from one or more of my professors being connected to them).

I got lucky because I enjoy connecting with people and am extroverted, but I very much agree with my professors who explained this to me at this point. This would be my biggest advice- to network with the schools you think you want to go to.

My "on paper" statistics are good for any of the schools I applied to (4.0 undergrad in psych and 4.0 grad in clinical mft, some research, active in organizations and service, some teaching experience, 165/162/4.5 GRE, some letter credentials after my name, etc...). So, I honestly think networking was one of the deciding factors for where I got interviews and where I did not. This makes sense, if you consider interviews as essentially the faculty trying to decide if they can connect with you or not- that connecting with them ahead of the application process is a good idea.

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Hi all- question for you. What are guidelines when asking schools for updates? Huge no or acceptable?

Also if you do, do you ask generally about their timeline for interview invites or should you ask specifically about checking in on the status of your app?

Long story short- I love this program. I felt like I knocked their app out of the park and one of my LOR writers said it was "crystal clear" that I'd be a good match. I haven't heard anything. I'm panicking and the interview date is approaching in the next few weeks.

Should I just let things fall where they may and not send an email. HELP! 

and thanks in advance. 

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8 minutes ago, bruno516 said:

Hi all- question for you. What are guidelines when asking schools for updates? Huge no or acceptable?

Also if you do, do you ask generally about their timeline for interview invites or should you ask specifically about checking in on the status of your app?

Long story short- I love this program. I felt like I knocked their app out of the park and one of my LOR writers said it was "crystal clear" that I'd be a good match. I haven't heard anything. I'm panicking and the interview date is approaching in the next few weeks.

Should I just let things fall where they may and not send an email. HELP! 

and thanks in advance. 

Hi! This is my second time applying. I have asked the schools I'm most interest in if they are still extending interview invitations because I found that last cycle I heard nothing at all unless I contacted the schools. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking! Good luck and take deep long breathes! :) 

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2 hours ago, bruno516 said:

Hi all- question for you. What are guidelines when asking schools for updates? Huge no or acceptable?

Also if you do, do you ask generally about their timeline for interview invites or should you ask specifically about checking in on the status of your app?

Long story short- I love this program. I felt like I knocked their app out of the park and one of my LOR writers said it was "crystal clear" that I'd be a good match. I haven't heard anything. I'm panicking and the interview date is approaching in the next few weeks.

Should I just let things fall where they may and not send an email. HELP! 

and thanks in advance. 

I think it would be best to contact the department coordinator to see if interview invites have been sent out, from my perspective, it could go either way (either bad or good) if you directly ask the POI. 

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30 minutes ago, psychpsychpsych said:

I think it would be best to contact the department coordinator to see if interview invites have been sent out, from my perspective, it could go either way (either bad or good) if you directly ask the POI. 

Yes! Sorry about that I should’ve clarified. I’ve never contacted a POI about interviews, just the department coordinators. 

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20 minutes ago, Psychedbeyondrepair said:

Yes! Sorry about that I should’ve clarified. I’ve never contacted a POI about interviews, just the department coordinators. 

hmm have interviews been extended?

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2 hours ago, psychpsychpsych said:

hmm have interviews been extended?

Yes, three interviews so far. I read in a handbook that it is ok to ask as long as you don't seem presumptuous in that you expect one. 

http://mitch.web.unc.edu/files/2017/02/MitchGradSchoolAdvice.pdf#page29 <- super helpful! 

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Ahh good ol mitch's how could I forget. It seems as though a few interview invites have been extended, but I couldn't gauge if more were to come or not. Thanks for all the input!

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3 minutes ago, Grad_School_Hopeful said:

Anyone have any song or tv show recommendations that are getting people through application season? 

Bob's Burgers! So funny but also grounding and reminds me that in life your goofy family friends are truly numero uno. I highly recommend

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On 2/4/2020 at 2:29 PM, PsyZei said:

 

I just wanted to reiterate this again, networking appears to be a key factor in getting interviews. Now that I have all the numbers in and have heard back from all my schools, the way it shakes out is that out of the 8 schools I applied to I had networked with 6 of the schools either personally or through my faculty having connections to them. I was rejected without an interview to the two schools I have no network connection to. I was invited for an interview for all six of the schools that I have some sort of a network connection with (either from me hunting them down and talking to them at conferences, or from one or more of my professors being connected to them).

I got lucky because I enjoy connecting with people and am extroverted, but I very much agree with my professors who explained this to me at this point. This would be my biggest advice- to network with the schools you think you want to go to.

My "on paper" statistics are good for any of the schools I applied to (4.0 undergrad in psych and 4.0 grad in clinical mft, some research, active in organizations and service, some teaching experience, 165/162/4.5 GRE, some letter credentials after my name, etc...). So, I honestly think networking was one of the deciding factors for where I got interviews and where I did not. This makes sense, if you consider interviews as essentially the faculty trying to decide if they can connect with you or not- that connecting with them ahead of the application process is a good idea.

Well said! I honestly didn't realize how important networking was until this application season (and it's my first time applying). The only interview I've received (and expect unless I happen to get any from master's programs) is from a POI I networked with at a conference and knows my current mentor. I have not networked with anyone else that I applied for, and I kinda wish I made more of an effort to. If I had to reapply, this is definitely an area I'd step up in. 

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I’m really frustrated with how an interview turned out and just want to vent. I’m not too perturbed because I didn’t really want to go there after all this, but it’s been a horrible experience. 
 

This program offered me the interview less than two weeks before the date, which made the flight obscenely expensive. Fine. They said the reimburse, but—ready?—only if you get into the program and accept. I’d rather they just didn’t offer reimbursement at that point. 
 

The interview itself was a bust and I didn’t understand why the POI invited me. They were obviously more interested in another applicant (which, hey, good for them!! Honestly and sincerely), blew me off, weren’t interested in anything I had to say, and legitimately ignored me at points. I left feeling pretty frustrated, but sent a thank you email and let it go. 
 

 

Everyone else I knew who interviewed heard within a week or two whether it was an acceptance/rejection/waitlist. I heard nothing and sort of decided not to care. 
 

now, a month later, I get a form letter rejection that makes it sound like I didn’t even interview. Everyone else got a personal email or call. 
 

I know I’m being whiny. I know I’m not entitled to anything, and it’s fine—I will just move on to the next thing. But it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth and a not so favorable impression of the program, and I just needed to vent. 

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So, I had my one and only interview recently and found out I am an alternate for the program. It's such a bummer because I know I am a fantastic fit for the lab and the program in general, I can tell the lab members and POI liked me, and I just happened to get beat out by one other applicant that was a bit more qualified that I am. Sometimes the chips don't fall in your favor. I'm really hoping it works out but this process has started to wear on me - I feel overwhelmed and defeated and keeping my head up is a bit difficult right now. Waiting and uncertainty is my least favorite thing in the whole world! 

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3 hours ago, andhowdoesthatmakeyoufeel said:

I’m really frustrated with how an interview turned out and just want to vent. I’m not too perturbed because I didn’t really want to go there after all this, but it’s been a horrible experience. 
 

This program offered me the interview less than two weeks before the date, which made the flight obscenely expensive. Fine. They said the reimburse, but—ready?—only if you get into the program and accept. I’d rather they just didn’t offer reimbursement at that point. 
 

The interview itself was a bust and I didn’t understand why the POI invited me. They were obviously more interested in another applicant (which, hey, good for them!! Honestly and sincerely), blew me off, weren’t interested in anything I had to say, and legitimately ignored me at points. I left feeling pretty frustrated, but sent a thank you email and let it go. 
 

 

Everyone else I knew who interviewed heard within a week or two whether it was an acceptance/rejection/waitlist. I heard nothing and sort of decided not to care. 
 

now, a month later, I get a form letter rejection that makes it sound like I didn’t even interview. Everyone else got a personal email or call. 
 

I know I’m being whiny. I know I’m not entitled to anything, and it’s fine—I will just move on to the next thing. But it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth and a not so favorable impression of the program, and I just needed to vent. 

 

Okay, what?!?!?!?!?!?! That is absolute garbage, especially the part I bolded. I'm so, so sorry that happened to you. God, I wouldn't want to go to a place that jerked me around like that. Good riddance. What a horrible experience.

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6 minutes ago, ctn said:

Quickly learning that waiting to hear back post interview is 10x harder than waiting to hear back about interviews

Yessss... I feel this 100%. Had an interview 1/31 and this has been the most painfully slow week ever. Really having trouble focusing this week!

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56 minutes ago, sparrow123 said:

 

Okay, what?!?!?!?!?!?! That is absolute garbage, especially the part I bolded. I'm so, so sorry that happened to you. God, I wouldn't want to go to a place that jerked me around like that. Good riddance. What a horrible experience.

Thank you, you’re sweet. It makes me feel better that I’m not just overreacting. It was an easy $600 and I’m still pretty grouchy about it—-if you’re that disinterested in me, just don’t invite me!

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