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interviews after being accepted to a higher choice school


dryicee

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Hello GradCafe community,

Back in early January, I got on-site interviews to several schools that are among my top 3-5 choices. The obvious thing to do at that time was to accept the interviews and book the plane tickets. However, I have since then been accepted to my 1st and 2nd choices. and my top choice school happens to host an admit weekend on the same weekend as one of these interviews. I already bought tickets that can be expense at the schools where I will be interviewed and the admitted schools.

So I have a few questions regarding what to do in this situation.

1) The chance that I would want to go to the schools that are interviewing me is rather small, so it is difficult for me to do a good interview. Otherwise, I'd love to chat with some professors in this field at these schools, but it seems to be a waste of time for them. Should I let them know of this circumstance? before or during the interview? What is a proper and respectful way to approach these interviews now.

2) My top choice school has an admit weekend that I'd like to attend. But I already bought tickets for interview at another school (at $400). In theory, the interviewing school should prefer that I let them know I'm probably not going even if admitted, so they can stop wasting any more time and money on me. But if I do that, then it seems I have to eat the cost of this plane ticket. On the other hand, there are a few respected professors in this school I'd like to meet, and have a nice chat. But it is really pretentious to say the chance of me attending is very small, but I'd still like to chat. Withholding this key information also seems improper. So what is the proper thing to do here?

Thank you so much!

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Congrats on your acceptances! Here are my suggestions:

1) If you haven't made a final decision yet on where you're going then there is nothing wrong with going ahead with the interviews at the other schools. At the very least it would be a good opportunity to meet profs that you could be working with in the future, even if you go elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe your interview at the lower ranked school would give you something to think about as you make your choice.

2) That's a tough decision - is it possible to get a refund on your plane ticket? Or at least get it changed so that you could use it another time? For me, going to the admit weekend of your top choice would take precedence over an interview at a school that you're unlikely to attend. So in this case, I would try to reschedule the interview and adjust the plane ticket accordingly, or simply withdraw my application from the school I was unlikely to attend.

All the best!

Edited by newms
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Granted, you said these are interview weekends, and not post-acceptance visits (which I'm more familiar with), but in my field it is quite common for the good applicants to be up front about where else they've been accepted and that they're trying to choose.

I discussed my options and the pros/cons with the professors I met on my visits, and I do the same thing now when I'm talking with prospective students at my graduate program- we ask where else they've been accepted, what their thoughts are, and then give any helpful information we can.

I think it's going to be reasonably well known that if you're one of the top applicants, you've probably applied to (and been accepted at) other good institutions and will have to choose.

I'm definitely glad I went and met with professors at all the schools, I have more contacts now than I would have otherwise.

I actually ended up running a recruitment booth one table over from one of the recruiters I met a few years ago at a conference recently- we were able to catch up, etc.

Take this with a grain of salt, of course- some people/programs will be less accepting of you choosing somewhere else over them than others will. I was quite careful to make sure they knew it was about choosing the program/faculty that I felt was the absolute best fit for my personal interests.

I'll also add that I think visiting all your choices is a good idea... I ended up going to the school that was not my initial top choice- and finding that my initial top choice was the program I felt like I fit into the least well. Meeting prospective bosses and coworkers in person is so much different than reading profiles online- and in my opinion, the personal fit matters a lot. You're picking someone (and somewhere) you want to work with for the next 5-7 years of your life.

Edited by Eigen
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Congrats on your acceptances! Here are my suggestions:

1) If you haven't made a final decision yet on where you're going then there is nothing wrong with going ahead with the interviews at the other schools. At the very least it would be a good opportunity to meet profs that you could be working with in the future, even if you go elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe your interview at the lower ranked school would give you something to think about as you make your choice.

2) That's a tough decision - is it possible to get a refund on your plane ticket? Or at least get it changed so that you could use it another time? For me, going to the admit weekend of your top choice would take precedence over an interview at a school that you're unlikely to attend. So in this case, I would try to reschedule the interview and adjust the plane ticket accordingly, or simply withdraw my application from the school I was unlikely to attend.

All the best!

Thanks for the advice! Hope I can handle the interviews in a respectful way.

I agree with you advice for 2), but I am only missing the official admit weekend, I still plan to visit sometimes before May and they are willing to expense my visit.

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Thank you so much for the answer! I hope I am better at chatting with a prof and strike a rapport, but I tend to get nervous especially when talking to more senior people. Will try my best. Thanks.

Granted, you said these are interview weekends, and not post-acceptance visits (which I'm more familiar with), but in my field it is quite common for the good applicants to be up front about where else they've been accepted and that they're trying to choose.

I discussed my options and the pros/cons with the professors I met on my visits, and I do the same thing now when I'm talking with prospective students at my graduate program- we ask where else they've been accepted, what their thoughts are, and then give any helpful information we can.

I think it's going to be reasonably well known that if you're one of the top applicants, you've probably applied to (and been accepted at) other good institutions and will have to choose.

I'm definitely glad I went and met with professors at all the schools, I have more contacts now than I would have otherwise.

I actually ended up running a recruitment booth one table over from one of the recruiters I met a few years ago at a conference recently- we were able to catch up, etc.

Take this with a grain of salt, of course- some people/programs will be less accepting of you choosing somewhere else over them than others will. I was quite careful to make sure they knew it was about choosing the program/faculty that I felt was the absolute best fit for my personal interests.

I'll also add that I think visiting all your choices is a good idea... I ended up going to the school that was not my initial top choice- and finding that my initial top choice was the program I felt like I fit into the least well. Meeting prospective bosses and coworkers in person is so much different than reading profiles online- and in my opinion, the personal fit matters a lot. You're picking someone (and somewhere) you want to work with for the next 5-7 years of your life.

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Just don't mention the other school(s) you are leaning towards during your visit unless asked where else you are seriously considering. There was one fool who visited my current program last year who just talked about how he was expecting an acceptance from *wicked awesome prof* any day now. So why the hell was he there making us listen to his preference? Be Switzerland during the interview, learn about the profs, program and school. If you are sure you are not interested after the interview, even before visiting your top choice, send a thank you note that withdraws your application politely.

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