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For the seasoned interviewees: I have questions, (maybe) you have answers.


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Here's an interesting scenario for y'all. I have an interview at Ohio State, from reading their website it looks like you are required to take a course and do a lab rotation during their summer term. This term runs from June 15th to July 31st. I am getting married July 25th, with plans to take our honeymoon immediately following the wedding. Is this something I should bring up over the interview weekend? 

 

So I realize that honesty is always best, but that's something I would wait to bring up until after you are accepted. I wouldn't want to give them any reason to not accept you. I realize that purposely avoiding mentioning a conflict might be sketchy, so people who are actually in attendance might have a better contribution, but I'm even avoiding telling people that I'm planning a wedding for the summer after my first year. Why? Because I don't want it to look like I'll be trying to do too many things. 

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I met a few others the first evening who have interviews lined up at top tens, and they all seemed to be under the impression that the decisions are largely made before the interviewers come. I was sk

Honesty if a program was that rude and minded about visiting a friend I wouldn't want to be there anyway...

Interviewing does get to be tiresome, and after a few weeks of if it you will be wondering why did I apply to so many schools.  that being said, my top choice that i had wanted to go gave me an invite

Here's an interesting scenario for y'all. I have an interview at Ohio State, from reading their website it looks like you are required to take a course and do a lab rotation during their summer term. This term runs from June 15th to July 31st. I am getting married July 25th, with plans to take our honeymoon immediately following the wedding. Is this something I should bring up over the interview weekend? 

I would not tell them a thing. If you do decide to attend, I'd suggest taking the honeymoon starting August though so you can finish the rotation (alternatively, once there, work it out with the professor). They only really need to know about it after you're a student and if there is a conflict.

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I'm on the plane flying to Nashville for my first interview and I have yet another question. One of my longtime friends lives in Nashville and I've only seen him twice in the last 5 years. I told him that I was interviewing at Vanderbilt and now he really wants to meet up. Do you think I could tell him to meet me at whatever bar we end up at (night out with grad students)? Or would this be too distracting/ detract from the goal of getting to know current grads? What have you done when visiting a city where you have family/close friends who are (understandably) pushy about seeing you during your visit?

 

Ok, so something similar happened to someone interviewing at the university where I currently work. The person met up with their friend in town during the interview weekend, and didn't end up getting accepted, partly due to the fact that the program felt this person took advantage of the fact that they were flying the candidate out here. Basically, the message was "We didn't fly you out here so you could see your friend. This is an interview, and you are here for that purpose." Use that info however you want, but keep in mind that you are traveling out there for an interview. And everyone is watching you all the time.

Edited by pachydermatus
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I would not tell them a thing. If you do decide to attend, I'd suggest taking the honeymoon starting August though so you can finish the rotation (alternatively, once there, work it out with the professor). They only really need to know about it after you're a student and if there is a conflict.

I agree that you don't need to mention it now. If they make you an offer then you should mention the concern at that point (before accepting). That is when they will probably be most accommodating since they will be trying to recruit you.

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Ok, so something similar happened to someone interviewing at the university where I currently work. The person met up with their friend in town during the interview weekend, and didn't end up getting accepted, partly due to the fact that the program felt this person took advantage of the fact that they were flying the candidate out here. Basically, the message was "We didn't fly you out here so you could see your friend. This is an interview, and you are here for that purpose." Use that info however you want, but keep in mind that you are traveling out there for an interview. And everyone is watching you all the time.

 

Did it detract from their interaction with the student/recruit group?  My husband has been wanting to scope out the towns where I interview, but not attend (obviously) any of the functions I go to.  I've been debating it for the one school, though, where I have been assigned a hotel roommate.  The only option there would be to pay for my own room and give the school-paid-for room to the other girl.

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Ok, so something similar happened to someone interviewing at the university where I currently work. The person met up with their friend in town during the interview weekend, and didn't end up getting accepted, partly due to the fact that the program felt this person took advantage of the fact that they were flying the candidate out here. Basically, the message was "We didn't fly you out here so you could see your friend. This is an interview, and you are here for that purpose." Use that info however you want, but keep in mind that you are traveling out there for an interview. And everyone is watching you all the time.

 

That's ridiculous, what an asshole program. Not that I'm surprised given the location.

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Ok, so something similar happened to someone interviewing at the university where I currently work. The person met up with their friend in town during the interview weekend, and didn't end up getting accepted, partly due to the fact that the program felt this person took advantage of the fact that they were flying the candidate out here. Basically, the message was "We didn't fly you out here so you could see your friend. This is an interview, and you are here for that purpose." Use that info however you want, but keep in mind that you are traveling out there for an interview. And everyone is watching you all the time.

 

Oh dear. Now I'm a little worried. I'm flying out to Seattle for two interviews back to back. I was planning on visiting my cousin, because Tuesday everything ends with one program, and everyone else for that interview flies home. The second program's activities don't start until Wednesday at 6 pm, because that is when the students for that program are flying in. If I'm doing other things while neither interview set is either occurring, that shouldn't hurt me, right?

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Oh dear. Now I'm a little worried. I'm flying out to Seattle for two interviews back to back. I was planning on visiting my cousin, because Tuesday everything ends with one program, and everyone else for that interview flies home. The second program's activities don't start until Wednesday at 6 pm, because that is when the students for that program are flying in. If I'm doing other things while neither interview set is either occurring, that shouldn't hurt me, right?

 

You'll be fine, it's none of their business what you do in your free time.

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Oh dear. Now I'm a little worried. I'm flying out to Seattle for two interviews back to back. I was planning on visiting my cousin, because Tuesday everything ends with one program, and everyone else for that interview flies home. The second program's activities don't start until Wednesday at 6 pm, because that is when the students for that program are flying in. If I'm doing other things while neither interview set is either occurring, that shouldn't hurt me, right?

 

I don't see why a program would view that negatively.  What do they expect us to do?  Be reclusive? If you're spending your own time and money (in the free time), I feel adults should be allowed to do whatever they want.  We're not children.

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Oh dear. Now I'm a little worried. I'm flying out to Seattle for two interviews back to back. I was planning on visiting my cousin, because Tuesday everything ends with one program, and everyone else for that interview flies home. The second program's activities don't start until Wednesday at 6 pm, because that is when the students for that program are flying in. If I'm doing other things while neither interview set is either occurring, that shouldn't hurt me, right?

 

It won't hurt you because you aren't blowing off anything official. In fact, if anything it should be seen in a positive light--the programs want you to fall in love with Seattle so you'll be more inclined to accept their offer should you be admitted, and having family show you around can help that happen. ;)

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It won't hurt you because you aren't blowing off anything official. In fact, if anything it should be seen in a positive light--the programs want you to fall in love with Seattle so you'll be more inclined to accept their offer should you be admitted, and having family show you around can help that happen. ;)

 

Thanks for all the replies guys, I think I'm just a little on edge because I've heard Washington is very competitive to get into, and they have a LOT of research that I am interested in. (Hence the two programs that I applied to).

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Thanks for all the replies guys, I think I'm just a little on edge because I've heard Washington is very competitive to get into, and they have a LOT of research that I am interested in. (Hence the two programs that I applied to).

 

I think it's much more competitive in terms of whom they invite; I looked at their immunology program and they only take like 3 people a year out of hundreds of applicants!

 

Once you have an interview, relax and be yourself, you'll do great. :)

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Did it detract from their interaction with the student/recruit group?  My husband has been wanting to scope out the towns where I interview, but not attend (obviously) any of the functions I go to.  I've been debating it for the one school, though, where I have been assigned a hotel roommate.  The only option there would be to pay for my own room and give the school-paid-for room to the other girl.

 

I don't think it had any affect on interactions with current students or anything, but you have to think about the message you're sending to the program when you do something like that. Like are you there because you're really interested in the program, or because you want a free trip to whatever city to see your friend/relative/whatever? As for your husband scoping out the cities, I don't see why that would be a problem. Relocating with a spouse is a big deal, and much more is involved in the decision. I would assume that as long as he pays for travel and hotel and doesn't crash any of your functions it wouldn't be a problem. But I would definitely talk to the programs about it first.

Edited by pachydermatus
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I'm on the plane flying to Nashville for my first interview and I have yet another question. One of my longtime friends lives in Nashville and I've only seen him twice in the last 5 years. I told him that I was interviewing at Vanderbilt and now he really wants to meet up. Do you think I could tell him to meet me at whatever bar we end up at (night out with grad students)? Or would this be too distracting/ detract from the goal of getting to know current grads? What have you done when visiting a city where you have family/close friends who are (understandably) pushy about seeing you during your visit?

i had one interview where i was in the city of one of my good friends.  we arranged to meet according to my itinerary on the day i got in before anything started.  She ended up meeting me at my hotel and we were able to catch up for about an hour.  i would try to arrange it more on the travel days when you know you are officially done or haven't kind of "begun" your interview.  I think it would be a bit weird to meet up with the others for recruitment and your friend.  At that point i'd leave early and meet up with them.  i know this is late, so hopefully you figured it out.

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Hi. Sorry to sidetrack the current conversation. I have a question about interview etiquette, however.

 

Is it bad form to cancel an interview if I've been accepted to my top choice? I applied to a short list of schools and I know the programs very well through various REUs, meetings with faculty members and recruitment events prior to this application cycle. My first interviews are with my top choice programs, and I would want to pass on interviews with schools that I don't like as much if accepted to one of my top choices. I feel like I would be wasting their time if I were to follow through with the interviews, but they've already paid for my flights and I would feel bad about canceling. My moral compass says that I should follow through, but I can't rationalize that decision logically or financially, especially I can't quite afford all of the days I will have to take off to attend the interviews (I need to make rent T_T).

 

I accepted each of the interview invitations as they came in because I was oblivious as to how everything would turn out. I know this is a really good problem to have, but I just wanted to ask the advice of other seasoned interviewees who have gone through similar circumstances. Thanks in advance.

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Is it bad form to cancel an interview if I've been accepted to my top choice?

 

Generally it's seen as bad form, especially if the plane tickets have already been paid for. Many people have also reported shifting their school rankings around after visiting each program; what is your top choice now might not be so after going to all the interviews. However, if attending interviews is putting you in a difficult position financially you may have to cut some interviews... It's a difficult predicament. Hopefully some others can chime in with advice!

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Hi. Sorry to sidetrack the current conversation. I have a question about interview etiquette, however.

 

Is it bad form to cancel an interview if I've been accepted to my top choice? I applied to a short list of schools and I know the programs very well through various REUs, meetings with faculty members and recruitment events prior to this application cycle. My first interviews are with my top choice programs, and I would want to pass on interviews with schools that I don't like as much if accepted to one of my top choices. I feel like I would be wasting their time if I were to follow through with the interviews, but they've already paid for my flights and I would feel bad about canceling. My moral compass says that I should follow through, but I can't rationalize that decision logically or financially, especially I can't quite afford all of the days I will have to take off to attend the interviews (I need to make rent T_T).

 

I accepted each of the interview invitations as they came in because I was oblivious as to how everything would turn out. I know this is a really good problem to have, but I just wanted to ask the advice of other seasoned interviewees who have gone through similar circumstances. Thanks in advance.

I'm going to say that, since you need the time for making ends meet, if you're absolutely certain you won't be attending the program go ahead and cancel. Be polite when speaking to the program and just explain that you have been accepted elsewhere, have made your decision, and would like to withdraw your application. I'm assuming you made the arrangements in good faith, but now that you know you won't be attending there's no reason to continue with their recruitment process.

 

That said, you must be absolutely sure, perceptions of the programs do change after the interview and I'm not sure you should cancel all of them.

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I'm going to say that, since you need the time for making ends meet, if you're absolutely certain you won't be attending the program go ahead and cancel. Be polite when speaking to the program and just explain that you have been accepted elsewhere, have made your decision, and would like to withdraw your application. I'm assuming you made the arrangements in good faith, but now that you know you won't be attending there's no reason to continue with their recruitment process.

 

That said, you must be absolutely sure, perceptions of the programs do change after the interview and I'm not sure you should cancel all of them.

 

Thanks for your input. I talked to my current PI as well, and he said that he prefers that prospective students withdraw their applications (at any point in the process) if they don't have the intention to enroll.

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I have an interview conflict and school number 2 is willing to give me a Skype interview. Has anyone had luck in these situations? Will I be at a disadvantage by not visiting campus?

 

In terms of admissions, you will not be at a disadvantage. However, attending a school site-unseen can be a little risky if you are unsure about the current students, the city it is located in, etc.

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In terms of admissions, you will not be at a disadvantage. However, attending a school site-unseen can be a little risky if you are unsure about the current students, the city it is located in, etc.

I've been in the area before and it's only 4 hours from where I currently live. So if accepted I'd take a visit down to campus if possible.

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I've been in the area before and it's only 4 hours from where I currently live. So if accepted I'd take a visit down to campus if possible.

 

Perfect. I know several people who did Skype interviews then visited independently -- it is definitely a valid option.

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I've completed my first interview (YAY!), but now have that nagging doubt about how the interview went. How can you even evaluate something like that? I mean, everyone was really nice, conversations never really stopped, and there weren't really any questions I couldn't answer, but still... I am sure others who have interviewed so far must be dealing with the same thing. How are you all dealing with it?

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