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Flying me to visit


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So, DePaul University is paying me to fly to visit their grad program.

I will be meeting with various professors and sitting in on a class that they want me to attend to (which was the topic of my writing sample).

Please PLEASE, advice for preparation is so helpful. I don't know anything about these matters.

1. should i read the professor's papers?

2. review my application?

3. clothing choices (i'm a girl)

4. other preparatory strategies?

if you have had an experience like this before, i would really like narrative accounts of how something like this goes. what do stress/what to avoid!


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I don't know if you have been accepted yet, but I was in a similar situation a few weeks ago and I am about to be in this situation again for the next couple weekends. My visits were interviews, although my sense is that if they are paying for you (which all of my interviews are), it is more of a recruiting/interview weekend rather than JUST an interview. I didn't sit in on any classes, but I did meet with several professors and aside from the class it sounds like my experience was similar to what yours will be.

In response to your questions:

1. I did read several papers of all of the professors I was told I would be interviewing with (I was only given this information a few days before my visit, so I printed out some abstracts/shorter papers and skimmed them on the plane). I was more familiar with some profs work than others. At the end of the day, I was glad I did it just for the sake of feeling confident, but it was probably unnecessary. Most professors first asked me about my own research, and then told me about theirs. This may be different in your field - I am applying to Psych programs.

2. I printed out my transcript/personal statement/resume and quickly reviewed the very basics before my interviews, and had hard copies with me in case I was asked specific questions. Again, I guess I'm glad that I did this just so that I wasn't worrying about it, but I didn't really need it - the questions I was asked were about very broad aspects of my SOP, regarding research that I am very familiar with and comfortable talking about.

3. I am also a girl, but let me qualify this by saying I think this varies DRASTICALLY from field to field (or even, in my case, subfield to subfield). I wore dress pants, a plain sweater, nice shoes, and a pashmina. I was very happy with my clothing choices - some of the interviewees were wearing suits, but others were wearing more casual clothes (t-shirts and corduroys - no one was wearing jeans). I felt happy being right in the middle. I'd ask some people in your field though - a great resource is your grad student host, or any other grad student who has contacted you, if that is a possibility. If you've already been accepted, it might matter less.

I don't have time now to write out a whole narrative of my experience, but basically my weekend consisted of the interviews themselves, a few informal talks about the format of the program, and several meals which gave us a chance to meet other prospective students, professors, and grad students. If you have already been accepted, congratulations! If this is technically an interview, I would try to make the best impression you can while still being comfortable and relaxed - they are paying to fly you out there, so that is a good sign! In the end I was accepted to the program I had this experience at, so that's a good sign!

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