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How do you know if your program interviews applicants?


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I have looked through the results search of the programs to which I am applying, but the data seems inconsistent. For instance, I will not see any "Interview invitation @ whatever date" posts, but then rejections will write "was not invited to interview." There also seem to be programs that have interviewed in past years but no postings about them since 2011-12, etc.  I am going to include the programs I applied to and would really appreciate if anyone has information—I know that what happened over past years isn't necessarily indicative of what will happen this year, but I am having such excessive anxiety about being contacted for interviews and whether or not that is something I might need to prepare for in the next month. I applied to Comp Lit programs and my main language is Russian, which I haven't used in over two years and do not feel prepared to be interviewed in that language, but my POIs at the Comp Lit programs are Russian/Slavic Studies people.


Language sadness aside, I am not the best at interviews...I tend to be very anxious, honest when maybe I shouldn't be, and get extremely worried that I will be judged by my appearance. I lost a lot of weight a few years ago and then gained half of it back, and I know for a fact now that things like interviews, auditions, and meeting new people just go over better when you're "cute." I'm mildly worried that the anxiety induced by this waiting process combined with trying to find a job and finishing my MA thesis is all being channeled into something between healthy lifestyle changes and disordered eating. Anyway, enough of my personal pathology...


I know I applied to very high-tier programs, but I didn't think it would be worth it to apply to places that might not be a good fit or have the faculty I want to work with. I also cut out a few choices for financial reasons, either because they did not offer fee waivers or required the GRE Literature Subject Test. Stanford was the only application I paid for, so that will be especially bummer-y when I am rejected. 


Sorry, this became a whole wall of text. 


These are the programs I applied to:

Stanford University, Modern Thought and Literature

UC Berkeley, Rhetoric

Brown University, Comparative Literature

Emory University, Comparative Literature

University of Chicago, English

received no response from UPenn about my fee waiver, so I'm guessing this application is in the ether



Not that it really matters, but here are my general stats:

Organized/ing one conference, presented at two conferences, one publication (12/2014) and one pending (11/2015?)

MA in Visual and Critical Studies to be received 05/2015

One T.A. Instructor position (First Year Seminar), 3 regular T.A.-ships, one semester as a writing tutor

One of my letter writers is (relatively) famous in the Art History field and my other two know some of the people in my programs, but from what I have heard this matters very minimally

90th percentile verbal on GRE

3.4 undergrad GPA, 3.9 grad GPA

Cannot attest to the quality of my SOP or Writing Sample but worked extensively with my advisor and first letter writer

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I think it depends on the specific area of the specific major you applied to. Some need to interview people to get a handle on them, others don't. It's a mixed bag based on what I've seen on these forums...I guess the best you can do is just wait and see if you get an e-mail asking for an interview!

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I think some programs stopped doing interviews in recent years because of financial pressures and the cost of flying people in, providing food and lodging, etc. 

Well, some programs do phone interviews or Skype interviews instead.

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I called the admissions or graduate departments at the schools I applied to. Almost all of them were able to tell me if they have interviews and when. If you do this for all your schools then you'll know exactly what to expect and you'll have an easier time preparing. 

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From my experiences on applying for master's program in the past, as far as sciences go (and mainly for other fields as well), if the POI finds your application appealing and if you are being considered for admission out of a smaller pool of applicants, you will definitely be interviewed before the final decision (quite unusual to be accepted to a program without being interviewed at all). A few programs do have "recruitment weekend" or interview weekend, depending on their budget, but most programs have now resorted to phone or Skype interviews. Kind of nice for us applicants too, because we don't have to set aside budget for all travel expenses. On an unrelated note, I understand that for medical school applicants however, they have to travel for their interviews (all travel expenses out of their pocket... bummer...).

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