How to get the interview?

Sphayu
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:09 am

How to get the interview?

Postby Sphayu » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:11 pm

Hi all,
So I am seeing that people are already having interview-style meetings with PIs at some big schools like MIT. Are the committee members and PIs reaching out to students, or are students getting in touch with the PIs and asking to have an interview/meeting to discuss their research? I don't want to miss this step in the application process if it requires me to email the programs first. I have emailed a few faculty members, usually one or two from each school and they were really responsive to me and said that they would look out for my application. Should I do anything else? Or is this just a waiting period for everyone else too?
Thanks for any advice you might have and good luck to all of you!

kronotsky
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:29 pm

Re: How to get the interview?

Postby kronotsky » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:26 pm

I had a skype interview with MIT professors who e-mailed me first, but they were astrophysicists (one of my areas of interests), who said that they were well ahead of the rest of the department. From the way it was conducted I estimate they did a couple dozen of these, probably no more than 40. I see that you did not apply to MIT for astro, so it's not surprising that you didn't hear from anyone there yet. I've done a little research, and it seems like now is about the time when the very first interview requests go out, so maybe it's just too early. Also, some people never get interviews and pick between their top choices, so don't worry too much about it.

Generally speaking, from what I've read, contacting faculty is only really helpful if you do it well beforehand and have actual research ideas to discuss with them. This is definitely not the norm for most physics departments (including those at the top), so this is also not something to worry too much about. Sean Carroll made mention of this in his blog a long time ago (~2006), and he said that most faculty don't like to disadvantage students simply because they didn't contact faculty ahead of time. This is probably because the advising system usually lets student think about the research they want to do for at least a semester after they matriculate; in departments where advising starts more immediately faculty contacts matter more. It doesn't hurt to get in touch with faculty now, of course (it can be helpful if you do get accepted to already have a channel open), but you shouldn't worry that you are hurting your chances by not doing so.

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Nishikata
Posts: 131
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: How to get the interview?

Postby Nishikata » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:02 am

Man, I will be at huge disadvantage if all my applications require interview. Been out of school for three years, I am so not ready to give an inspiring and enthusiastic speech of why on earth should [school name] choose me instead of the ambitious and tireless fresh grads?

Hopefully there is a school in my list that does not adopt this practice.

tartarsauceandfish
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:13 am

Re: How to get the interview?

Postby tartarsauceandfish » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:26 am

US domestic student here. I can confirm that interview invitations for MIT Applied Physics and Princeton Applied Physics were sent out this week. I also received an invitation for an interview from UC Santa Barbara for Physics. Haven't heard back from any other physics programs yet, but I assume that it's still a bit early.

Nishikata wrote:Man, I will be at huge disadvantage if all my applications require interview. Been out of school for three years, I am so not ready to give an inspiring and enthusiastic speech of why on earth should [school name] choose me instead of the ambitious and tireless fresh grads?

Hopefully there is a school in my list that does not adopt this practice.


Based on what I've heard, higher ranking schools are more likely to have an interview process. I know for certain that some of my classmates were invited to interviews at MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and Oxford last year. However, the structure of the interview varies depending on the school. Some interviews are very formal and may require you to give a presentation on your past research. Other interviews are more a casual chat between you and a PI to discuss possible research ideas.
Last edited by tartarsauceandfish on Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ivies2019
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:00 am

Re: How to get the interview?

Postby Ivies2019 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:06 pm

I think most interviewed applicants were International. I was told that they don’t typically do the interview. Physicists don’t like to talk to one another lol




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