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Conflicting interview weekends


01848p

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Hello all,

I've been invited to two interview weekends that are taking place on the exact same days in February, and could use some advice. I heard back from School A about a week ago, from the PI that I hope to work with if I end up attending the program. Prior to sending in my application, I had a brief email conversation with the PI in which we exchanged 2 or 3 emails, and I was told that the PI had made it policy not to talk with potential students until the time had come for applications to be reviewed. I feel as though I have good chances at the school, as the PI seems to be very enthusiastic to speak and work with me. However, she has been working in the field for quite some time now and does not seem to be putting research out very often. I'm not sure how established she is/how much of a name she has made for herself. I heard from School B yesterday, again from a PI that I hope to work with if I  end up attending the program. I had attempted to contact this PI prior to sending in my application, via email. However, I never heard anything back from her. This email inviting me to the interview weekend is the first contact I have had with any professor at School B. School B is a far better school than School A, ranked in the top 7 for Developmental Psychology Ph.D. programs (School A is ranked in the top 20). The PI is also seems to be up-and-coming within her particular research area, and is much younger than the PI at School B, so I feel as though I may have more opportunity for growth under her supervision. I am very conflicted because I am strongly interested in both schools, and in the research that both of these professors are doing. However, the interviews are on the exact same day, and the schools are on completely opposite sides of the country so there is not even a possibility of attending both weekends. I could really use some advice as to how to handle this situation. I really do not want to eliminate either school at this point. 

 

Thanks in advance!

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Pick the one you'd like to go to more at the original time, hold onto the invite for a bit (write back to express enthusiasm, say you'll need a few days to finalize your plans and confirm, ask by when you'll need to do that if they didn't say, and also take the opportunity to ask if there would be an option of visiting at a different time in case you can't make the original time, because you foresee a possible conflict you're trying to resolve right now). Then write the other school, again express enthusiasm, but say that you already have another visit scheduled for the same time, making it impossible for you attend on DATE. Ask if it would be possible to postpone to a later time. Once you've confirmed that you can reschedule, finalize your plan with the original school. (Or: if the second school is being difficult but the first allows you to reschedule, do that). Most schools would not reject a student simply because they can't make the one random time they've picked for an interview. They should allow you to reschedule. 

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Yeah I've heard if you've already accepted one interview, tell the second school that you cannot make the interview weekend but would be eager to participate in a skype/phone interview or see if there is a "makeup" or second weekend they hold interviews (my friends in PhD psych programs say this isn't as unusual as you think) and see what they say. Most understand that there's a small window of time to interview and students often get offers for the same days. Plus, multiple offers may make you look more competitive, thus making you look more appealing to the dept. Good luck though!

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Congrats on the interviews!! Super exciting - I wouldn't take the lack of response from the PI at school B to heart, maybe you will really click with her when you interview! I asked a grad student in my lab about this. She recommended what the others have suggested, asking if there is a second weekend or even offering to come interview with your PI on a non-interview weekend just to learn more about the program and talk with them. The aforementioned grad student accepted an offer, told the other schools she wouldn't be coming to the interviews, and still got offers from them... if they're deterred from recruiting you simply because you are being recruited by others, that's crazy! She ended up being able to play her current PI against a competing one for a much bigger stipend, and never even interviewed at the other school. Hope something similar happens to you :) best of luck!!

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