What is the Best Way to Prepare Myself for a Grad School Interview?

An interview is part of the admissions process for some selective graduate programs, and grad school interview prep can make a big difference in a student's chances of getting in. Faculty members are looking to learn about applicants and to see whether each would be a good fit for their programs. The graduate school interview doesn't have to be stressful. It's actually a chance to shine and to showcase the talent, skills and hard work one has to offer. Follow these tips to prepare for a grad school interview and to increase the chances of acceptance.

Look Professional

Applicants should take time to plan and prepare their interview attire ahead of time. First impressions matter and this type of meeting should be treated with professionalism just as a job interview would be. Dress in business casual wear in order to look put together and confident.

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Be Ready

Being prepared to speak knowledgeably and extensively during the interview is of the utmost importance. This preparation involves anticipating the types of questions that might be asked. Some schools may provide a sample list, which helps, but others won't. Applicants should be ready to talk about past accomplishments, specific program-related knowledge and why they want to be accepted to this grad school at the very least.

Do Some Homework

Prospective students should also be in the know about the program and its faculty. Be ready with questions related to the curriculum, equipment, expectations, and faculty research are all good ways for applicants to show they are truly interested in becoming part of the student body at this particular institution. Such dedication can go far toward an offer of admission. Another part of being ready is showing up the day of the interview well-rested and alert. That means it's important to get enough sleep and to eat a healthy breakfast. Showing up to the interview slugging or looking out of it is never good.

Get Personal

Part of grad school interview prep involves being able to brag a bit and be vulnerable. Sometimes students forget this is a personal interview. Committee members are looking for applicants who are authentic, knowledgeable and exemplary. Students should be ready to talk about themselves openly and to speak highly of their skills, accomplishments, and expertise. They also need to demonstrate the ways in which they will fit in and contribute to a potential graduate program. That's where that research from the last step comes into play.

Show Some Manners

Applicants should put their best foot forward with every step of the interview process. That means any communication, written or in-person, should be without error and concise. They should be polite with every interaction. This includes when setting up the interview appointment and when waiting for it to begin. One never knows who is watching and taking notes. Good etiquette across the board is important.

These tips should help get any graduate school interviewee ready for the big day. Grad school interview prep is all about having a conversation and showing what one knows, so it truly doesn't have to be an overwhelming or intimidating event.

Source: USA Today