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All day Interview?


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I'm applying for my Psy.D in Clinical Psychology. So far, I have heard from 3 of the 4 schools I applied to. Denied by one, and interviews to two. Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) and The Wright Institute (San Francisco, California). Both interviews are "all day" activities. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing all day, I just know it's all day. What should I wear? I was thinking a suit, but because they are all day events I don't know what's appropriate. Is it okay to bring someone with me (my boyfriend is coming to California with me). Any insider tips? I could REALLY use them! Thanks!

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I'm in a psychology PhD program (not clinical) and although I didn't go through the process myself I've seen it from the other side.

For our all-day interviews, you generally formally interview with 1-3 professors but you also will have more informal events chatting with graduate students; your potential lab may take you out to dinner, and we take our prospectives out to lunch. You may also have a departmental information session to attend. There may be a lot of walking. So my suggestion is to wear something that is both sort of dressy and casual.

In my department a suit would be a *little* too dressy - we have interviewees who wear suits every year, but generally people wear slacks or a nice skirt and a sweater (I'm in NYC, so it's cold in February) or button-down. And some nice but comfortable shoes - flats or loafers are fine.

Whether or not it's okay to bring someone depends on accommodations...if you will be staying with a grad student (like we do here) then it's probably not appropriate unless he's getting a separate hotel room or has other friends to stay with in the area. If they are putting you up in a hotel, there shouldn't be any extra charge for an additional person but they may be doubling you up with another prospective, so I would check first. (Maybe email a grad student coordinator? In my department, the grad students coordinate all those things.) Regardless I would not bring a significant other to the interview/activities; we want to see how you operate without him around because that's what it'll be like when you're in the trenches with us. Besides it looks unprofessional. And even if he does come, I would not skip on "optional" activities like social events with grad students afterwards or dinner.

Insider tips? This is going to sound ominous but in my program for interview weekend, we are always observing you. Here in my department we spend substantial amounts of time together - people spend hours per week in the labs (it varies by lab) and in the department, taking classes, seminars, and we're also pretty social. We want people who are going to really mesh with us, not just research-wise but personality wise. Not to mention that our faculty are lovely and they solicit our opinions about incoming grad students. So remember that you are "on" even when you are at lunch, dinner, or the informal chats. I don't mean we're going to eject you if you drop pasta down your shirt, lol, I just mean remain professional (but relaxed; be yourself) throughout the day.

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