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Be Extra-Prepared for Your Graduate Admissions Interview

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Got an interview for graduate school? Congratulations! You've made the short list of applicants in line for a slot in the graduate program. Remember, though, you're not in.  Depending on the program, only a third or fewer of applicants invited to interview may be admitted.

What makes for a successful interview? Successful applicants establish good rapport with everyone they encounter (as best they can). They also are prepared to answer common questions about their experiences and goals for graduate study. The most prepared applicants, however, study the program and university. They know something about each so that their interactions are informed - and so that they can ask useful questions that appropriately convey their interest.

How do you prepare for a grad school interview?

  • Learn about the program and faculty.
  • Read recent faculty publications to learn more about their labs.
  • If you mentioned a particular faculty member in your admissions essay or other materials, know his or her work inside and out -- and have a few insightful questions to ask.
  • In addition to questions about faculty research, prepare intelligent questions about other aspects of graduate life, such as the availability of lab space, library resources, teaching and research assistantships, and simply what it's like to live in town.
You are judged by your grad school application, but you've already wowed them because you were invited for an interview. Now it's personal. Now you will be judged by how you present yourself, your interests and aspirations, and your interest in the program and faculty. Do your homework to be prepared to show an interest in your hosts: faculty, students, and the college itself.

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