I am not familiar with the graduate interview process. Are there signs during and after the interview that student will be able to tell whether he or she will be accepted or rejected in into the research group?

More importantly, how would an applicant know if the graduate interview was a flop. For example, if the professor doesn't follow up with a letter after the interview, is that a sign that the student will probably not considered to be a part of the group?

2 Answers 2


We try to be meticulously fair during our interviews. We tend to ask similar questions and try to retain a similar demeanor across all of them.

You should know that we don't usually make up our minds during the interview itself. It's not like a job interview. The answers you give will form just one component of our entire impression of you.

And up until the final committee meeting when all of the finalists are put up on the board and ranked against each other, it's very hard to say with specificity who got in and who got rejected.

p.s. While I try to send my interviewees a quick note by e-mail thanking them for their time, I would be aghast to think that if I forgot to do so that someone would read devastation and gloom into that oversight. Sometimes a missed e-mail is just a missed e-mail.


I think pretty universally there is no way to tell the outcome based on the interview. Unlike RoboKaren's department, the department where I did my PhD was notoriously non-uniform during interviews. Of the 7 people in my cohort, so people who had "successful" interviews. One interview started with "Tell me about your father?" Another student was asked to solve a problem on the white board and failed to calculate the cutoff frequency for an RC circuit, which is about as basic as you can get in terms of electrical engineering. A third had the interviewer actually fall asleep during the interview while the student was answering a question. The student quietly excused herself and continued on with her schedule.

  • WOW. Well I guess we have both ends of the spectrum here.
    – RoboKaren
    Feb 1, 2015 at 1:13

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