That's a pretty good sign.
What do I mean? Today my phone interviewer began by apologizing for not calling me first. His actual apology was, "My colleagues would be very upset with me if they found out I forgot to call you." He then explained that they were very interested in my application, so he didn't simply mean they would be annoyed at his general rudeness, but rather his rudeness to me in particular. I found that an excellent start to the conversation.
He asked me two simple questions: 1) why his school, and 2) what do I want to do after a Ph.D. I answered them to his satisfaction, and then the conversation turned even more casual. He asked if I had been to his town. I don't think I have and I told him so. He let me know that living in town near campus was very good if I had children to worry about in public schools, but outside of town the schools were not so great.
(see title of post, make connection)
We talked about questions I had about the program, and I definitely liked all he had to say. He gave me the good advice to get to know the faculty at every school where I am accepted before deciding where to go.
"It's not really like any other situation," he explained. "It's not really like a student/teacher relationship. We're accepting you into our world. It's more like making you a part of a family. If you don't think you will get along with the people at a place, then you shouldn't go there."
I have mentioned before on this blog how welcoming the academic community has felt to me thus far. What he said just furthered that feeling of acceptance and camaraderie that I have already connected with on a basic level. I also felt very excited by his general reaction. After all, most of the schools I have applied to are similarly excellent in their own rights. If his school is so excited to have me, hopefully all of them will be.