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First some background info about me...

I was an undergrad bio major who was planning on going to grad school for education to become a bio teacher. The fall semester my senior year however I took a pharmacology course and loved it. After talking to the professor I decided to pursue pharmacology at the graduate level. I got an internship at a pharma company over winter break, did research the following semester and then took the gre during the summer.

I recently applied for fall 2012 admissions and have my first interview at Drexel Medical College for their pharm/phys program in February. My main problem is that I don't have the slightest clue as to what to expect. I feel like I have been so busy trying to improve my CV for grad school that I never really took the time to learn about the whole process. In the email Drexel sent me requesting an interview, they gave me 2 weeks to choose from. Does this mean that I will be down their for a week meeting with various professors, or will they pick one day during that week that works best for them? Is there any beginner article I can read on here to get the basics of this stuff? I've been browsing the forums all day to try and gather bits of info to paint a better picture of what it will be like.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Just from my understanding by lurking in this forum and personal experience, the interview tends to be at the weekend and therefore it should not last for 7 days. Thus far I have an interview that long for 3/4 days, where I fly out to this city on Thursday evening, visiting the campus and having interviews with faculty members on Friday, sightseeing/visiting the city on Saturday, and flying back to home on Sunday morning. My guess is that I don't think you will be at Drexel for a week, but it never hurts to ask!

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Is this a PharmD program, or a PhD program? Here's an outline of PhD program interview weekends from the ones I've been to or have the details on:

Most likely the interview/visit will be, at the longest, from Thursday to Sunday or Saturday to Tuesday. Usually you will have a meet and greet with students and/or faculty on the first evening, then they will either take you out or back to your hotel. The second day you should expect some introductory talk about the program, the structure, the department, and details like avg time to graduation, core courses, etc. That day you will likely also interview with a few faculty, and possibly see some student research presentations and/or short faculty research talks. Then you may have a dinner with faculty and students, with optional evening activities in the area. The next day is more student-life oriented, with campus tours, local activities and outings, and possibly another student/faculty dinner. Then you would depart on day 4.

Basically the idea is to get as much interaction with you and both current students as well as faculty. They will want to evaluate you and answer questions like, Is he able to talk about the research he has done? Why does he want to go to school here? If we make him an offer, will he accept? Is he interested in research going on in our labs? Does he seem serious about completing a rigorous PhD program? They also, however, want to give you the opportunity to get any questions that you may have about the program answered by both faculty and current students. To do so they will try to schedule some less structured and informal events like cocktail hours, dinners, lunches, and outings.

My recommendation would be to do plenty of research beforehand on the people you will be interviewing with. You should be familiar with their research so that it's not completely foreign to you and so that you can ask intelligent questions about it. Also try to get a sense if there are PIs that you could see yourself working closely with for 4+ years, and try to get a sense of whether they have funding and will be taking on new students around the time you will be joining a lab. This will be a little hard to do, since that date is ~2 years away, but it doesn't hurt to ask and gauge their response. In doing so you are also showing that you are interested enough that you are thinking about the details of actually entering their lab and doing research.

Ask the students about quality of life, flexibility in the program, housing options, what the qualifying exam is like, how they chose the labs they rotated in, and anything else that you think will influence your decision.

Also, bring at least one dress shirt and tie with slacks and shoes to go with it. You won't need to be dressed fancy every day, but I will be wearing a tie on all of my interview days.

Good luck

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Awesome, thanks a lot. Initially I thought it would be a one day deal where I would just go in for an interview, meet a few professors then leave but after reading some info on this site I realized I was most likely way off. That was great summary of what to expect. (It is a PhD program by the way)

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