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Rejected After Interview?


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I was wondering how bad it is to be rejected after an interview (without someone else accepting the offer) and not even being put on the wait list. I received an email stating I had been denied admission into the program about a week after the interview. I assume it's bad considering I'm not even last on the wait list... Thank you!

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How bad it is really depends on the circumstances. Are you certain no one else accepted an offer? That's the most common reason I have seen for rejections after interviews. 

However, there are so many other reasons people get rejected and it is not always because they were a bad candidate or didn't interview well. I encourage you to reach out to the PI for feedback because that will be the most instructive. If they interviewed you, they should be open to have some further conversation for feedback at the very least. 

Sometimes unusual things can come up after the interview that impact your status but have little to do with you or your interview performance. For example, they could find out funding they were counting on getting is no longer available or that an older student who is in the program won't be graduating on time. This then could make it impossible to admit a new student no matter how wonderful they are. It could also just be a matter of fit with the program or PI which speaks more to finding the right program/PI for your interests than it does to you as a candidate. The list of possibilities can go on.

So, although poor performance on the interview could be one factor, it could be plenty of other things that contribute to decisions. This processes are very complex, beyond what any of us on the other side can begin to imagine. I would encourage you not to get too defeated by the rejection before you get more info as to the circumstances. 

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It depends on how big the application committee is. A week doesn't seem like a long time for your materials to make the rounds and be reviewed by all members. It also depends on the programme and competitiveness.

Can you think of anything egregious during interview or potential 'red flags' in your app? If not, then the issues that Regression brought up are even more relevant. Reach out and see if they'll give you feedback.

Definitely don't give up if you know it's what you want.

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