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Most Difficult Interview Question (for me) - Why this school? Why me?

No Coffee Plz

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I've completed 2 interviews so far, and have 3 more coming up.


The most difficult questions for me to answer have consistently been

"Why our school/department?"

"Why did you choose me as a POI over others?"


Of course I have reasons why I chose them, but I can't really formulate much more than "I like this program".

Anyone have suggestions?


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I've always struggled with this question because it seems like a "turtles all the way down" thing. Why a certain PI - well, I like your research. Why do you like their research - well, because I like microbiology and evolution. Why are you intrigued by microbiology and evolution - etc, etc. At what point are you allowed do throw up your hands and say, "I just am!"?

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One of my interviewers asked me to tell her how I would go about characterizing a developmental mutant in the span of 2 years with a magical lab where everything works and an army of undergrads. I had 10 minutes to talk all the way through it. 

Needless to say, my response was a jumbled, crazy, hot science mess. I got in anyway. 


Sometimes I think they're looking for simple answers. Just be truthful. If you just like the environment of the place, so be it. It's not like they're going to judge you for having a bad reason (unless of course you don't have a reason, but then why did you apply in the first place?). 

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