Structure of Grad Student Interviews: You’ll likely get your schedule only a day or two before the actual interview weekend. Do not wait until then to look into professors and prepare your questions. Grad student interviews often consist of interviews with the main PI of interest, graduate students in the lab, and other PIs in the department. Although informal, social events are also situations for those in the department to interview you. Note that these are just a list of suggested questions that you can ask. Also some of the information gathering can be elicited both by asking questions and through observation (e.g., observing whether students in the department are close and seem happy; do people seem competitive or collaborative). You should prepare by: 1. Reading each PI’s website (both for those you are directly applying to and those you are interviewing with) and recent publications a. Websites tend to list on-going projects or grants that you should take note of (especially relevant for PIs you are applying for) b. Take notes on which aspects of their work is interesting to you - relate it to your own past experiences. This does not mean talking about your personal life experiences, but research experience (ex: if they use a specific type of model that you are familiar with, note it as something that could generate conversation) c. Take notes on whether the PI’s graduate students are on papers with the PI. Also note where previous graduate students are currently working and if that is the career type you want 2. Thinking about which aspects of your research experience you want to showcase and what is the most effective way to communicate it 3. Thinking about what your area of interest is and how/whether the graduate program you will be interviewing at can help you achieve your career goals What information is important for you to gather during interviews: Who might have good information on this: ** Current Students ** PI you are applying for ** Department Head or Other PIs in the department 1. Funding, Insurance and TAing. Try to find out about the funding situation for the department and labs you are interested in. a. Are students funded by the lab or by the department? Does this funding status change throughout the years of the PhD? **,** b. How much are graduate students paid per year? **,** c. How many years are supported funding? **,** d. Are students encouraged to get external funding? How are students supported in applying for external funding (e.g., dedicated time, formal class, etc.)? Have previous students in the lab been funded by external grants? How does this influence TAships? **,** e. Does funding depend on TAing? Is the number of TAships you have to do standardized across students? **,** f. Does funding depend on the lab’s grants? Which grants will you be supported by? **,** g. What type of medical insurance is included in your funding? Dental? Vision? Is insurance fully covered? **,** i. Current students might have good insight into whether the insurance is good 2. Lab Environment. a. Is the PI you are interested in supportive? Are they approachable? What type of feedback do they provide/what is their mentorship style? Do they adapt their mentorship style to different students?** b. Have they had issues with past students? Do they seem to have good rapport with their current students? **,**,** c. Have most past students graduated on time? What is the expected timeline of students in the lab? **,** d. How often/and for how long would you meet with the PI one-on-one? Are these meetings flexible? Are meetings on a formalized schedule or are they as needed? **,** e. How often are there lab meetings? **,** f. Are there other lab members that you could collaborate with? (ex: post-docs, other graduate students) How collaborative is the culture? **,** g. Is there a lab manual online that you can view? **,** h. Is the lab conducive to learning new methods? Do students have the time and space to learn? **,** Feel free to ask for the names of past students. **,** 3. Department Environment. a. Are the students supported and happy? **,**,** b. Are there department socials? Do the people seem close? **,** c. Are there collaborations across labs in the department? Are there collaborations across departments? **,**,** d. What does the program do to ensure equity? **,**,** e. Is there a good balance between coursework and research? **,**,** 4. Graduate Student Responsibilities a. Are you expected to apply for external grants? b. How many projects are students expected to work on at one time? c. Are research programs determined by the PI (i.e. they tell you what to work on) or do you have room to discuss your interests? **,** i. Ask them how they work with students on deciding projects d. Are graduate students expected to take on any administrative work in the lab or administrative work for their own experiments? e. How often do graduate students lead lab meetings? f. How often do graduate students attend external conferences or workshops? g. Do graduate students typically set the agenda for meetings? h. Are graduate students expected to supervise undergraduate research assistants? i. Are graduate students expected to collaborate with one another? It is important to hear a lot of different perspectives when seeing if the lab or department is a good fit for you. Trust the advice you are being given and the impressions that you are making, but remember that you can always contact people afterwards if you have further questions!