The grad school interview – Vetting the candidate

Last weekend, I asked how important is the grad school interview to admissions. As of Sunday, twenty-eight of my fine readers (plus myself) had responded to the survey on this subject.  A little over half had interviews before admissions, but only about a third of those indicated that the interview heavily influenced admissions decisions.

You can check out a detailed breakdown of interview importance by program and discipline on Google Docs. As I suspected, admissions decisions before interviews were more prevalent for physical sciences candidates (70%) than for bio peeps (20%).

Regardless of our individual experiences,  we mostly agree that the interview should have some role in the admissions process.

But what is it we seek to learn from a face-to-face interaction that we cannot extract from the pages of information required for grad school applications? Is it, as Bashir suggested, to serve mostly as a ‘sanity check’? A last chance to judge whether a candidate can hack it before investing time and money? Are there other subtleties or flags that we hope are fleshed out?

That brings me to today’s question.

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