by Stephanie Small
Published November 14, 2012
For a lucky few, the graduate school interview is a time to demonstrate a lifetime of carefully cultivated poise. They know the in-person interview will enhance their resume. In fact, they’re disappointed if they don’t have a chance to interview.
For most of us, the grad school interview feels like a trip to the dentist.
Perhaps, in the past, interviews have not been the strongest part of your application. However, we hope that our top tips on how to charm the pants off Admissions can turn you into an interview superstar.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
We want to offer you a new perspective on this interviewing process. Instead of the school interviewing you, remember, you’re also interviewing the school. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions that remain unanswered after perusing the literature and website. Most of all, it’s a chance for you to gage how you feel when you’re speaking to a representative of the institution. Are you made to feel welcome? Are your queries answered thoroughly? Do you feel a sense of warmth as well as professionalism? Don’t forget, schools need students in order to run, and if you’re a good candidate, they should be courting you too.
PSYCH YOURSELF UP
If you’re a 30 Rock fan, you may have seen the episode in which Jack Donaghy prepares for a speech by gazing into a mirror and telling himself “You’re a lion! Take what’s yours!” While that might not exactly be your style, reminding yourself of your qualifications before stepping into the interview may help shift you into a positive mindset. Take some time to reflect on all of the ways in which you’re a great candidate. If you’re focused on your failures, your mistakes, and the stain on your skirt, your negative mindset may come across in the interview.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
The interview is, in most cases, the school’s first chance to see how you present in person. Clean, neat, slightly dress attire is the ONLY appropriate choice. Stay away from denim, anything too tight or too bright, and anything too eccentric. Your demeanor should echo your outfit. This is not the time to rant, swear, or speak in lofty, unclear metaphors. Be clear and be polite.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
A thorough understanding of the school and what it has to offer demonstrates you care enough to take the time to do your research. On the flip side, asking questions easily answered by a quick perusal of the website shows that you’re either flaky, tech-challenged, or are just asking questions for the sake of asking questions.
Speaking of asking questions, there usually comes a point towards the end of the interview in which the interviewer asks if you have any. Anticipate this beforehand and come prepared with at least one or two thoughtful and intelligent questions.
Applying to gradschool is a process, and we at GradSchools.com can help.
You can read about writing your application essay by clicking here.
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