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Prelim vs official tips

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Hi friends, 

  I just have a question (and hoping for some advice) about the interview etiquette of pre versus official? I had several prelim interviews, and a few official invites for interview days— but since I already met with my potential POI, I guess I am just curious about what i should focus on/handle these interviews versus the prelim ones? If any of that makes sense. Thank you!

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For me, the informal interview was the actual interview where I answered questions about my research and goals. My formal interview was really relaxed. I had some questions prepared about the state of the field and future research projects and that's all we talked about. The PI didn't ask me any questions at the formal interview. Of course, I don't know if this is standard.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey - a little late to respond but hopefully this might be helpful for someone! I had prelims with two out of three of my official interview PI's. During the prelims, I was asked questions about my background and experience, and why I wanted to go to graduate school and specifically why that program. During the actual interviews following these prelims, I got to ask more specific questions about what exactly I would be doing as a student in the lab. So for example, if there was any "unused" data for me to work on my analysis/manuscript skills right from the get go, how they saw their lab operating in the fall (due to COVID restrictions possibly lifting or easing up), their expectations of a student etc.

During my official interviews with other faculty members I asked program specific questions about classes, potential minors, comprehensive exam stuff and also insight about the geographical area. Most faculty members just wanted to chat, but some asked me "interview" questions about my background and what I want to pursue in grad school. My best advice is to have lots and lots of productive questions so there isn't dead space for them to ask you questions that might trip you up lol

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