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All day Interviews, NEED HELP!


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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 went on my first interview (it was all day) a couple of weeks ago. I don't have any info on your specific field but I will tell you a little about my interview anyway....

1) I wore a suit-everyone I spoke with advised me to "show respect and wear a suit." It was expensive and uncomfortable but it was just for one day so whateva. I recommend that you ask people in your field if you are unsure.

2) The program sent me a detailed schedule a few days prior to the interview. This was helpful because it allowed me to see exactly who I was meeting and review relevant info about each person. FYI- I had short interviews with every person in the department (roughly 15 people, including phd students) and an additional 5 people from other departments. NOTE: I asked my POI for a brief overview of what to expect and he gladly forwarded the schedule

3) They took me out to lunch and dinner. I cannot stress how important the non-academic setting is for evaluating you. Most schools that ask for interviews are looking at your "overall fit," i.e., can we deal with this person for several years?

Anyway, good luck and i hope my meanderings help.

BTW, I was told at the end of the day how much everyone liked me and I got an acceptance about 2 weeks later.

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I went to an interview last weekend, so I can share my experience with that. The one I went to was a 2-day affair, with the first day being all kind of informal stuff (campus tour, tour of the training clinic and then a potluck dinner at a faculty member's house) and the second day was all formal interviews. I honestly found the informal stuff to be more helpful than the formal stuff because 1) it gives you a chance to meet grad students and some faculty in a fairly low-pressure setting where you can ask questions and see how everyone interacts, and 2) having to meet dozens of new people gives you a lot of practice giving your spiel about who you are and what you're interested in. I'm sure that over the course of your day, you will have at least some informal time to chat with people, so make use of it! Be friendly and outgoing; even if you're just making small talk, confidence leaves a good impression.

Interviews were only 20 minutes each, and we had 4 interviews with faculty members and 1 with a grad student. I know this varies a lot, but the interviews I went to were pretty low pressure, and it was pretty clear that they were just trying to get a sense of who you are and how you fit. No tricky questions, pretty much just questions pertaining to your interests and experiences, as well as what you want out of a grad program. Have some questions of your own prepared - things to ask about might include funding, clinical training, academic curriculum, mentorship, the town where the school is located, and the atmosphere in the department. Other questions will undoubtedly come up while you're talking to people, too.

As for your specific questions: definitely wear a suit! It shows that you're taking the interview seriously and you want to put your best foot forward. I would also err on the side of caution and not bring your boyfriend with you. They might be accommodating, but they might not, and bringing him sets up the possibility for awkward situations.

Edited by jynx
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Email and ask admissions what the typical attire is for interviews - in my experience they have pushed for business casual because they know all-day events like this are tiring and they want you to be comfortable. Don't bring a boyfriend to planned events. For the interviews, have a list of several questions ready just in case there are gaps in your conversation. I would have at least 2 specific questions about the particular research they have done - it shows you cared enough to look into what they are doing.

Edited by UrbanEd
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