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Graduate School Interviews

Although not all programs require interviews, the on-campus visit can help you strengthen your candidacy. In addition, the campus interview will provide you with a better understanding of the program and help you assess your interest in the university. An interview can be extremely beneficial in your decision-making process. If the university does not require an interview, you should request one. Keep in mind that some schools will interview only selected candidates; if this is the case, you should arrange a "campus visit" during which you can tour the campus, evaluate the facilities, and talk with faculty and students.

Prepare for graduate school interviews as you would for an employment interview (see previous section on interviewing skills). Research the programs; polish your interviewing skills; and be prepared to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and educational achieve-ments. Be sure that you are familiar with the faculty's research and publications. When interviewing with faculty, discuss how your interests, goals, and skills are compatible with the program.

Thorough research and on-campus interviews may seem costly in terms or time and money. However, your decision to attend graduate school is an important one that should not be taken lightly. You will be investing more money into your education and foregoing several years of income if you choose to attend a graduate program. Compare the cost of campus visits to this investment and you will soon realize that it is a small price to pay for a decision that will have a lasting influence on your professional and personal life.

Tips for Graduate School Interviews
· Arrange interviews or on-campus visits early in your senior year; this strategy will help you to evaluate and perhaps redefine your interests. (If you are interested in medical school, you may want to visit the campus during your junior year). To arrange a campus visit, write a letter to the director of the program stating that you will be in the area during a specific time frame and would appreciate the opportunity to meet and discuss the program. Follow up by telephone about two weeks after mailing your letter to confirm a campus visit, if agreeable to the school. Make sure all correspondence is handled in a professional manner.

· Prepare for the interview. Research the university, the program, the faculty, and the research currently being conducted. Be able to answer standard questions such as those listed on the next page of this guide and demonstrate how the program will help you attain your academic and professional goals. Be able to discuss the strengths you would bring to the program. It is appropriate to inquire about scholarships, assistantships, and financial aid.

· Try to arrange a meeting with current graduate students in the department. This is a great way to get information about how students view the program. Inquire about student satisfaction, availability of faculty, academic challenges, and strengths and weaknesses of the program.

· Always follow up with thank-you letters to everyone you met, expressing continued interest in the program and thanking them for their time.

(The information on Tips for Graduate School Interviews is provided courtesy of Rhodes College Career Services).

Graduate School Interview Questions

1) Tell me about yourself.
2) Why did you choose to attend the University of Memphis?
3) Why did you choose your academic major?
4) How would you describe the academic climate at the University of Memphis?
5) What are your short- and long-term career goals?
6) Why are you interested in this profession?
7) What subjects did you enjoy most in college? What did you enjoy least? Why?
8) Why did you choose to apply to this institution?
9) What activities, aside from classroom studies, have you participated in?
10) What are your research interests?
11) What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
12) Why weren't your grades better?
13) What have you accomplished in the past that demonstrates your interests and commitment to this profession?
14) What traits or characteristics do you think are important for success in this field?
15) How do you handle stress in your life?

(Graduate School Questions and Questions Asked by Candidates adapted from Rhodes College Career Services).

Questions Asked by Candidates at Graduate School Interviews

1) What research is currently being conducted in this department?
2) Are there opportunities for students to participate in research?
3) Do faculty members have research teams?
4) What are the strengths of this program? What makes it unique?
5) How would you describe the relationship between faculty and students in this department?
6) How flexible is the program? Would I be able to design my own program?
7) How long has this program existed at the University?
8) Would you describe the facilities available to students, such as libraries, computer labs, etc.?
9) Are teaching and research assistantships
available? If so, how are students selected? How many are available? Where are they?
10) Are internships or other practical experiences a part of the curriculum?
11) What type of career assistance is provided to graduate students?
12) What types of positions do graduates of this program obtain?
13) What are your research interests? What studies are you currently involved with?

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Last Updated: 12/4/11