Columbia University Graduate Research Assistant Interview Questions

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Graduate Research Assistant Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

I applied online. The process took 4 months - interviewed at Columbia University.

Interview Details

Application Process: Reach out to the prospective professor(s) to determine funding availability and if there is a place for you. If you have a strong interest and are able to conceive of a possible proposal so much the better but this amount of experience in an applicant is rare. Needless to say anyone with NSF or other independent funding is a shoe-in.

As far as I know acceptance is finally determined by a vote of the faculty of the particular department. The culture of the university is heavily academically nepotistic, in that faculty tend to favor students from schools with a long history of Columbia association, usually with emphasis on association with that particular department's collaborative partner schools.

Acceptance is primary driven by: undergraduate school reputation and strength of recommendations. GPA is used as a minimum bar(typically >3.5). Past experience and your willingness to participate in ongoing research (perhaps not what you'd exactly like to do) and the faculty's awareness of your interest count for a lot. Many beginning doctoral acceptees are 24-26 and have work experience/specific well-aligned research interests.

A word about differences in the program from other schools:

One year to study for your qualifier exam instead of two. No preassigned research rotations, go looking early for a research adviser. Focus is on getting you to the research part fast.

Interview Questions
Negotiation Details
There is none. Pay is fixed by the department for all students for the first year. Thereafter you're adviser's grant determines your salary. It tends not to vary much.
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Easy Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Columbia University

  1.  

    Graduate Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Interviews with professors, no transparency. There is no true bar or a way to tell who gets accepted

    Interview Questions
    • I wasn't asked anything particularly difficult or unexpected.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
  2.  

    Graduate Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 months - interviewed at Columbia University.

    Interview Details

    Application to the PhD program is standard. Three letters of recommendation are probably the most important, followed by research experience, then grades and reputation of undergraduate institution. There's also a personal statement and GRE scores.

    Interview Questions
    • There was no interview for my position, just the application.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
  3.  

    Graduate Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a day - interviewed at Columbia University in February 2008.

    Interview Details

    I met with 4 professors, and each of them spent an hour asking me questions regarding my background in science. They clearly expected me to be able to describe experiments that I have done in the past and put emphasis on the rational of my experiment design and ability to reason.
    They are all very nice, and some of them spent more time telling me about their research than asking me questions.

    Interview Questions
    • Why didn't you do well in that course (you got a C)   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    All graduate students get paid the same, so there is not need for negotiation.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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