According to the Council of Graduate Schools last year, post-secondary institutions that took part in its graduate enrollment and degrees survey received north of 2.1 million applications for the fall of 2014, and they extended more than 850,000 offers of admission for the fall of 2014. Of course, not all applicants make the grade. So how can you increase your odds of getting a letter of acceptance? The secret lies in the grad school interview. For a primer on how to ace the interview, read on to learn about some important tools you need.
Tools to Prepare Yourself for the Graduate School Interview
Don’t underestimate the value of research…lots of it. According to USA Today, you can make a great impression if you’re up to breast with developments at the university, specific departments, or even star faculty. Knowing this sort of information will demonstrate that you’re serious about grad school.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Religiously rehearse the questions that are typically asked at grad school interviews by admissions officials looking for the right students (which, by the way, are similar to the types of questions asked at job interviews by employers looking for the right workers). What this means is that you’ll need to practice answering questions like the following:
1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
2. What are your past accomplishments?
3. What challenges have you overcome and what did you learn?
4. Why are you interested in studying at the particular institution you’re applying to rather than to another institution?
Make sure that your answers are thorough and sincere. And, again, practice them over and over again until you’re comfortable not only with the content but also with the presentation.
3. Understand Motivations
During the interview, you should stress why you’re interested in earning a graduate degree in the first place. This means that you should discuss what experiences you’ve had that have convinced you that an advanced degree is right for you.
4. Ask Questions
Bring questions with to the interview so that, if given the opportunity, you can ask them. Your questions should be well thought out so that, for example, you can demonstrate that you have done some research on the department and/or faculty within the department.
5. End Well
After the interview is complete, close well by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and by reiterating that it would be an honor for you to study at the school. You should also follow up with a handwritten thank you note shortly after the meeting date.
How you do during the grad school interview can make or break your prospects for getting a letter of acceptance from the academic institution you really want to attend. If you use the aforementioned tools to your advantage, you’ll be better prepared to go in and wow the interviewer, and that will only help your odds of getting a letter of acceptance.
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