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interviews with english departments?

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what's the deal with the invitation to visit campus? phone interviews? the phd programs i applied to made no mention on their websites, but i'd like to know what to expect.

are these interviews offered after they've decided to admit you or not? or is it just another(stressful, stupid) hoop to jump through?

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I'd think it'd really depend on the school. I'm sure different schools have different interview processes. Have you made contacts with current students in any of the programs you've applied to? You might ask them.

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Some of the super-competitive schools will do interviews in late February. A close friend of mine, now at Stanford, had to do a short phone interview. Don't worry, they'll call and tell you what to expect when they schedule it. Relatively painless from what he told me. That's the only place I've heard about doing phone interviews.

The invitation to visit campus is a way for you to meet the faculty and see the facilities of a program to which you've been accepted. These weekends can be pretty swanky as they're trying to lure you over other programs, although are getting a little less so because of dwindling economic resources. You will meet with faculty on these visits, but they won't be evaluating you to accept or reject you, they'll just be trying to get a better sense of you and give you a better sense of the department.

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I've heard it tends to happen more frequently in languages and Comp Lit... Makes sense. You're expected to TA/teach one or more of your languages to first-year undergrads as part of your degree: of course the adcoms need to verify your foreign language skills before they admit you. That's especially true with popular languages like French, I think. A girl who did her undergrad with me at UBC is now in the MA French here and, frankly, her spoken French is really not that good, despite the excellent grades she's been getting. Now she's stuck teaching first year french and the department is starting to question their decision admitting her.

While something like this might first go unnoticed here, I doubt they'd let it happen in a PHD program that accepts 1% of applicants.

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i don't think english departments have interviews, that seems to be more of a sciences/social sciences thing.

Even the most prestigious program to which I'm applying doesn't do interviews. My girlfriend, who happens to attend the school at which my top choice is, was offered a flight (we lived 2 hours away at that time...they still offered), was put up in a nice hotel, and taken out to eat/drink on the department's dollar for her interview weekend. Every school she was accepted to did this. I've been told by a grad student at my top choice that if I get accepted, I can come up for a weekend and the department will take me and a few other students out to eat.

Moral of the story: Go into the sciences because they have all the money.

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