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Need Time-Sensitive Interview Advice - Choosing Between Two Schools


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Hi all -

I'm in a bit of a predicament. I am fortunate enough to have received multiple invites to interview weekends/recruitment events. Less fortunate is the fact that I'm indecisive and nervous about ruling any school out, so I've got a TON of busy weekends this month. Thus far the invites have been scheduled on the weekends, until today. One school, let's call it Schmurdue, has just given me 11 days notice for an interview/visit, and it's Monday - Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the weekend before, I will be at another interview, as well as the weekend after. If I accept Schmurdue's invitation, I will have something like 10 straight days of school visits. If I was in undergrad, I probably could make it work, but out of respect to my kind and supportive employer, I've tried to limit my time off to weekends.

School B has invited me to interview the Thursday and Friday after Schmurdue, and I had literally just sent my RSVP when I got the email from Schmurdue. I am not sure I can go to Schmurdue M-W, then turn around and take a redeye and get to School B Thursday - Friday. I asked Schmurdue if I could potentially re-schedule and visit another weekend and was told no. However, I will feel terrible if I ask my employer, last minute, for an entire week off in the middle of our busy season. What would you do?

Schmurdue: Perceived stronger systems engineering program (which is preferable), no formal offer, no formal funding, very last-minute invite to weekend, might be a better fit overall

School B: I am not sure it will be a great fit (but won't be sure til I visit), potentially not as strong in systems engineering, formal offer, not great funding package (partial fellowship/partial TA, $2060/mo stipend overall), was iffy about attending visitation weekend, but literally just sent confirmation of attendance.


1) Try to do 10 straight days of interviews and essentially say "whatever" to your loyal employer?

2) Retract attendance to School B (I have about 12 hours to cancel my flight)

3) Decline invitation to Schmurdue

4) Take a stress nap


Edited by bandinterwebs
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I am a full-time employee as well, and coming from my perspective, I would go for:

1) Try to do 10 straight days of interviews and essentially say "whatever" to your loyal employer and

4) Take a stress nap


Seriously though, I feel like your employer must know the weight of the situation, and I think if you are really torn between the schools, going to the interviews will be the perfect way to differentiate between the programs. I don't think any employer would feel slighted by this, because you are going to leave for graduate school soon anyways.

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Thank-you, Zedonger. I think I may be leaning in that direction or #2 (and always #4).

Follow-up question: How many interviews do people go to? Neither of these schools are my "top" choice, but I am very much a "leave no stone unturned" sort. You never know what you might find out on a visit. Do people tend to visit most schools to which they've been invited, or do they pick their favorites and call it a day? I've scheduled four interviews and this would be my fifth, and I feel like that is crazy. Any thoughts?


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I agree with Gvh....

Go ahead and visit all your schools.  If I understand right from someone... (let us call him Zach), you are going full time.

It is important to make the right decision than worry about your employer now... if you really wanted to worry about your employer, you probably should have done that before you decided to apply...

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You should definitely visit as many as you can. I know people that only interview/visit at their top 2 or 3 and then decline all the rest. I feel like that is such a gamble. Plus, I've visited schools that were at the top of my list and realized they weren't as good of a fit. Vice versa, I've visited schools at the bottom of my list and realized how amazing they were. I don't believe that you can make a decision about you future based on the information on a website or how good the school is perceived to be. Experiencing the environment and speaking to professors and current students in person will give you the best insight on whether it is a truly "good" fit. 

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