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Admissions directly into lab for PhD studies


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This happened really suddenly. Yesterday I was looking at a program that requires you to have a faculty sponser before you are admitted to the program. I found a few labs that were interesting, emailed one with a message and resume and the PI called me by phone an hour later. We talked for 30 minutes and he is flying me out there in a week. I'm cautiously optimistic but everything sounds legit at this point.

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From what I know, this is unusual but probably nothing to be concerned about. Faculty interest in specific candidates often play a huge role in admissions decisions but some programs are more upfront about it, while others try to downplay it. Do you mind sharing which school/program this is? I'm getting worried that I didn't apply to enough programs and am searching for programs that are still accepting applications/looking for students...

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I had something similar happen during my application season. I applied to a program that required a sponsor, so I emailed the professor I was most interested in working with and she immediately wrote back a very detailed email which also expressed her interest in having me as a student. I didn't fly out as early as a week later, but we very quickly arranged for a visit. It was really awesome to be courted by a faculty member! :)

I'm sure your PI will set up some schedule for you to meet others in the department and the graduate students. I think faculty carefully pick who they have for visits, so be happy!

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