Jump to content

POI Visting My School


dandelion0627

Recommended Posts

Hi, guys,

 

one of the POIs that I am interested in working with is visiting my school next week, and he agreed to meet with me shortly and can keep in touch by phone or email later on.

 

Since this isn't an official interview, I don't think he is going to lead the conversation.

I assume it will be short, maybe around 10 min or so, what kind of questions about her lab or research should I ask?

What should be the focus of my questions?

 

Thanks in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where are you in the application process? Have you submitted an application? When would you expect a reply? And will she get to choose a student to work with, or do you get admitted to the department as a whole and only later choose an advisor?

I already completed my application, and am waiting for the decision.

 

I haven't heard back from the program yet, neither a decision nor an invitation for interview. 

The school website does not indicate whether the POI or the department will make the final admission decision.

 

When I emailed him, I suggested that I applied to the program and have strong interests in working in his lab.

He did not indicate if he's recruiting students this year in his response, but I assume he is, because otherwise he would just tell me so, wouldn't he?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't heard back from the program yet, neither a decision nor an invitation for interview. 

The school website does not indicate whether the POI or the department will make the final admission decision.

 

This often depends on your field and how funding is structured. In lab-based sciences, often funding comes from grants awarded to the PI and the PI can then directly hire students to work with him/her. Other fields are rotation-based and so you don't need to have someone who agrees to take you on before applying, but there should clearly be some labs that you can see yourself working in. In non-lab-based fields, often funding doesn't come from grants but from the school, or else grant money is pooled. Either way, the department will accept students as a whole, sometimes to work with a particular advisor and sometimes not. If that is the case, the advisor may have some say in who gets admitted, but not as much as if they just get to choose themselves.

 

 

When I emailed him, I suggested that I applied to the program and have strong interests in working in his lab.

He did not indicate if he's recruiting students this year in his response, but I assume he is, because otherwise he would just tell me so, wouldn't he?

 

Well, maybe, but it's still worth asking. He may think that it'd be helpful if he answers questions about the department, even if he is not accepting new students himself. 

 

Anyway, given your answers, I'd ask for information about the lab and about the department that is not easily found on the lab/department website. E.g., what projects are going on right now, which ones are planned? What are recent alums doing now? What is the profile of a successful student in the lab? Would I have access to [spiffy new equipment]? Could I collaborate with [relevant off-campus entity, or another dept on campus]? Are there opportunities to visit other universities as a visiting student? What is your opinion on having side-projects while in your lab? Who determines the dissertation project for students - are they derivative of existing grants? How much input can students have? [you'll notice that some questions only make sense depending on your situation, so if there is no reason to go study at another university or use whatever equipment, don't ask about it.]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we have visiting scholars come to our department, we often set them up with short meetings with a series of current students, postdocs and faculty members. These meetings are a good way for both parties to exchange ideas and learn about each others' research. So, if your field also works this way, it might be helpful that this is the framework that the prof might be expecting with this upcoming meeting. 

 

Usually because the visiting scholar will be giving a talk on their own work, the conversation is often led by you and they will expect to hear about what you are currently working on. I would recommend starting the meeting this way. Tell him about your current research and your graduate school research interests. Then, ask them about their current projects and segue that into mentioning again that you are applying to their program. At this point, I think it would be a good idea to ask more direct questions about the department (e.g. what fuzzy suggested) and ask questions about whether or not the prof will be taking on more students.

 

If you have a very short time slot with the prof (< 5 mins) then perhaps jump right into the questions about graduate school admissions. Otherwise, the purpose of these meetings (at least in my field) is to exchange ideas about research so that both parties get something out of it, and I would advise you to follow that format if possible!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ yep, if you have the time, definitely start with more general stuff about you and your work, and perhaps questions about the potential advisor's work if you have any. I was assuming a very short meeting, as per the OP, but that's something you should verify.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This often depends on your field and how funding is structured. In lab-based sciences, often funding comes from grants awarded to the PI and the PI can then directly hire students to work with him/her. Other fields are rotation-based and so you don't need to have someone who agrees to take you on before applying, but there should clearly be some labs that you can see yourself working in. In non-lab-based fields, often funding doesn't come from grants but from the school, or else grant money is pooled. Either way, the department will accept students as a whole, sometimes to work with a particular advisor and sometimes not. If that is the case, the advisor may have some say in who gets admitted, but not as much as if they just get to choose themselves.

 

 

 

Well, maybe, but it's still worth asking. He may think that it'd be helpful if he answers questions about the department, even if he is not accepting new students himself. 

 

Anyway, given your answers, I'd ask for information about the lab and about the department that is not easily found on the lab/department website. E.g., what projects are going on right now, which ones are planned? What are recent alums doing now? What is the profile of a successful student in the lab? Would I have access to [spiffy new equipment]? Could I collaborate with [relevant off-campus entity, or another dept on campus]? Are there opportunities to visit other universities as a visiting student? What is your opinion on having side-projects while in your lab? Who determines the dissertation project for students - are they derivative of existing grants? How much input can students have? [you'll notice that some questions only make sense depending on your situation, so if there is no reason to go study at another university or use whatever equipment, don't ask about it.]

Thank you so much!

Those are great answers to my confusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we have visiting scholars come to our department, we often set them up with short meetings with a series of current students, postdocs and faculty members. These meetings are a good way for both parties to exchange ideas and learn about each others' research. So, if your field also works this way, it might be helpful that this is the framework that the prof might be expecting with this upcoming meeting. 

 

Usually because the visiting scholar will be giving a talk on their own work, the conversation is often led by you and they will expect to hear about what you are currently working on. I would recommend starting the meeting this way. Tell him about your current research and your graduate school research interests. Then, ask them about their current projects and segue that into mentioning again that you are applying to their program. At this point, I think it would be a good idea to ask more direct questions about the department (e.g. what fuzzy suggested) and ask questions about whether or not the prof will be taking on more students.

 

If you have a very short time slot with the prof (< 5 mins) then perhaps jump right into the questions about graduate school admissions. Otherwise, the purpose of these meetings (at least in my field) is to exchange ideas about research so that both parties get something out of it, and I would advise you to follow that format if possible!

Thanks TakeruK, this is very helpful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use