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Are interviews supposed to be conclusive?


trisarahtops

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I had an interview on Monday: a short 15-20 minute video chat (I am doing my masters in France) with a professor whose work I had mentioned in my statement of purpose. It was a nice conversation, but I was left with more questions than answers? Does it mean I have a higher chance of acceptance? Since he didn't mention my admission status, does it mean I didn't get in? My real question is: do you typically end an interview knowing whether or not you are accepted?

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While I can't speak for every program out there, typically you do not find out the end result from the interview. I would say that usually the interview is just one component and the committee will likely meet again after interviewing all the candidates and decide how to move on from there. The interview is just one part of the process.

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I don't think I've ever heard of a case where someone had an interview and had an answer immediate at the end of it, one way or the other. The interview is just one part of the process, and usually the professor who interviewed you will then meet with the rest of the committee to report back and make decisions. You might not hear back for a little bit, but that shouldn't be cause for concern. 

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6 hours ago, trisarahtops said:

My real question is: do you typically end an interview knowing whether or not you are accepted?

They typically end with "we will let you know at X time" as they probably have other interviews to conduct. They can't possible say you have the slot when the next person they interview could be a better fit. After they interview everyone they plan to interview, they will meet and decide who they let in. 

Edited by .letmeinplz//
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I just had an interview that confirmed what everyone has said. 

The Professor told me that for that program, they have a admissions committee at the specialization level, the department level, then all decisions are confirmed by the University's Graduate School. So at the end of the initial review conducted at the specialization level, finalists are interviewed and then the representative(s) from the specialization will make recommendations to the department ad comm. Then once the final decision is made, it is sent up to the Graduate School. I spoke with him today (Jan 25th) and he said that "nothing exciting" will happen for the next few weeks as the department goes through the motions. He said, most likely, that I should be hearing back mid Feb. 

Another interview I had really did leave me with a lot of uncertainty - I couldn't really tell if the professor liked/ wanted me or not. Still, I asked what the next steps in the admissions process would be, and she told me that after the department admission comm makes a final decision (around Feb 1st), then they'll need to go to the school to fight for funding for the selected students. So the final decision with funding package would only be available in March. 

I think it is fair to ask what the next steps are / should you be preparing for another interview etc. (One program told me I'd need to speak with 2 professors), that way you can gain a bit more (not a lot) certainty.

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9 hours ago, DBear said:

Another interview I had really did leave me with a lot of uncertainty - I couldn't really tell if the professor liked/ wanted me or not. Still, I asked what the next steps in the admissions process would be, and she told me that after the department admission comm makes a final decision (around Feb 1st), then they'll need to go to the school to fight for funding for the selected students. So the final decision with funding package would only be available in March. 

For what it's worth, when I'm on the "other side" as the interviewer (as a grad student rep on [non-academic] hiring committees), many of us try to keep the same attitude/expression towards all candidates. So it's easier to consistently maintain a neutral expression/tone than it is to be equally excited about everyone! There is some fatigue in interviewing a ton of people so it might be too tiring to show excitement even if it's there (also another reason to try to choose a neutral tone).

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4 minutes ago, TakeruK said:

For what it's worth, when I'm on the "other side" as the interviewer (as a grad student rep on [non-academic] hiring committees), many of us try to keep the same attitude/expression towards all candidates. So it's easier to consistently maintain a neutral expression/tone than it is to be equally excited about everyone! There is some fatigue in interviewing a ton of people so it might be too tiring to show excitement even if it's there (also another reason to try to choose a neutral tone).

Thank you! She was nice and friendly but basically asked me one question (the tell me a bit more about your research interests/ why do you want to go here question) then it was on to "do you have any questions for me?" So it was really short so didn't really know what to make of that. I'm a bit more nervous because I've also interviewed people (in a corporate setting though) and there are times I decide to play "good cop" and just smiley warmly at everyone even when I have no intention of passing them. A bit paranoid, but I'm not sure what to make of her friendly demeanor in light of the brevity of the chat. I'm being paranoid mostly :) 

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So I'm looking for some reassurance here -- or not, whatever people think about this situation! I had an interview yesterday with my top program and sent an email thank you note to each of the interviewers afterward. A bit later, I found out that somebody from that program was accepted on the same day and started to panic, so I emailed the interviewers again and asked if all the decisions were made. I was told that that person was an exception because they had received a university-wide fellowship. All was fine until I went to bed. I started thinking about my interview answers and felt that something I mentioned about a potential research project was extremely unclear, so I decided to email my interviewers AGAIN and clarify what I meant and noted that my nerves got in the way and hence wasn't able to articulate my idea lucently. The department is usually very responsive, but after this final email, they haven't answered. I'm extremely paranoid that I've annoyed them, come across as panicky/overbearing, etc., and now they're going to reject me. What do people think? Is three emails on the same day too much?

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5 hours ago, 2017 said:

So I'm looking for some reassurance here -- or not, whatever people think about this situation! I had an interview yesterday with my top program and sent an email thank you note to each of the interviewers afterward. A bit later, I found out that somebody from that program was accepted on the same day and started to panic, so I emailed the interviewers again and asked if all the decisions were made. I was told that that person was an exception because they had received a university-wide fellowship. All was fine until I went to bed. I started thinking about my interview answers and felt that something I mentioned about a potential research project was extremely unclear, so I decided to email my interviewers AGAIN and clarify what I meant and noted that my nerves got in the way and hence wasn't able to articulate my idea lucently. The department is usually very responsive, but after this final email, they haven't answered. I'm extremely paranoid that I've annoyed them, come across as panicky/overbearing, etc., and now they're going to reject me. What do people think? Is three emails on the same day too much?

Yes, three emails in the same day is too much. My opinion is that the only emails you should have sent were the thank-you emails. However, they are not likely to reject you at this stage (they did put all that effort into interviewing you) just because they were annoyed. So, I think the best thing to do would be to not email them any more and just wait until the final decision. Good luck!

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I agree with TakeruK that three emails in one day is too much unless it is a continuing two-way conversation.

I also did an interview through Skype two weeks ago in which my interviewers told me that they would 'probably' make the decision in 2-3 weeks since they still has to interview more students and still have to go through committee meetings, etc. I emailed each of them a personalized thank you note afterwards  by email and one of them reassured me in their reply that they'll get back to me in 2-3 weeks. I only sent one of them another email a few days ago because I have an update regarding my publication status. I think I will wait at least another two weeks (a week later than they promised me) to make another contact. Hopefully they would inform me sometimes in the next week, though..

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