Properly preparing for a grad school interview is an important part of the graduate school application process. Without proper preparation, you may not get accepted into one of your top choice schools. After putting in the effort to do well as an undergraduate, then research and narrow down the choices in graduate programs, it makes sense to do your best to arrive at your interview ready to impress.
Prioritize Your Trips
Don’t assume that because schools extend invitations for you to come interview, they will be footing the bill. You are responsible for the cost of traveling to the school, as well as accommodations and meals. While special arrangements can be made occasionally, generally, you should plan on paying for everything. This means you need to think long and hard about where you interview and how many interviews you attend.
Do Your Research
While colleges use the interview process to help make their admission decisions, the process benefits you as well. You’ll have the opportunity to talk with faculty and current students during the process, so come prepared with specific questions about things that matter to you. You’ll spend time touring the labs and other facilities, so have an idea about what are must haves and what you are flexible about.
Know The Interview Process
Different graduate schools use different processes to interview. Some conduct a formal interview, taking 30 minutes to an hour of your time. Others bring multiple prospects to the school over a weekend, and plan a variety of formal and informal gatherings. Knowing what to expect during the interview process allows you be better prepared.
Practice Answering Questions
Although you don’t know what exactly questions the interviewer will ask, a friend can help you prepare by asking general questions. There are a variety of online resources for common questions asked during the grad school interview process. While reviewing the questions and thinking about the answers you are likely to give is helpful, you will be better prepared if you actually practice with a stand-in interviewer. Putting your thoughts into words and giving your answers aloud will help you sound smoother and more confident when talking to the interviewer.
Know Your Strengths
It can be difficult to talk about your strengths without sounding like you are bragging, and the process makes many people uncomfortable. This is normal, but it is something you need to get over before the interview process. Think of several specific assets that you have that would be beneficial to the program, and be ready to state them during the interview. You can be sure the question will come up.
Getting accepted into your goal graduate school takes preparation and dedication. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your essay and application are what matters and that the interview is only a formality and chance to visit the campus. Preparing for a grad school interview is a key part of the grad school acceptance process.
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