When I was applying to graduate programs, I attended two campus visits and they couldn’t have been more different from one another.
One was an “accepted students weekend” – less of an interview, more of a get-to-know-the-program situation. The other was more of a full-blown “interview” – my days were a mix of meetings with faculty, heads of departments, and informal socializing with students.
It’s helpful to know what kind of weekend you’re getting into before you go.
In this post, I talk more specifically about preparing for an “interview” weekend, but a lot of this advice will be helpful for any kind of recruitment situation.
A few weeks ago, you may have seen that I shared some big news. The news? I landed a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in the Department of Classics at Randolph-Macon College – that is, of course, after preparing and submitting a slew of application materials and surviving a nerve-wracking campus interview.
Instead, most of what I learned about how to be successful on the job market came from two sources.
First, my incredible mentors. From drafting and revising and practicing job talks to setting up mock interviews to giving me advice on negotiating a contract, I couldn’t have done any of this without my support system.
Second, I spent a lot – and I mean a lot – of time reading posts across the internet relating to the academic job search. My Google search history can probably attest to that. I also spent an indeterminate amount of time combing through posts on Twitter, like this one:
My key takeaway from the whole experience?
Always. Ask. Questions.
It makes you seem interested in the position and the institution (even if you’re not). It’s also a great way to take a break from talking and let someone else take over.
Another year, another grad school interview season underway.
This is (I think) the first year that my program (archaeology) and our department (Classical Studies) have decided to go their separate ways for recruitment. Last week was the department’s; in a few weeks will be my program’s.
I figured that now was as good a time as any to breach the subject (again). In case you missed last year’s installment, you can check out the first five questions I suggested here.
Last year’s post was centered primarily around considerations for BIPOC prospective students, including questions about interdisciplinarity, DEI approaches, and institutional support.
This year I thought more about questions that dig deeper into structural issues, such as pedagogical training, time to degree, and financial support.
A quick reminder: although some questions may seem best suited for faculty interviews, don’t forget to talk to current students! Current students are just as (if not more) valuable as sources of information about grad programs. And don’t just ask younger students – talk to the older ones, too!