Receiving a letter requesting that you come for an interview clearly indicates that the graduate school you applied to is seriously interested in you. The large volume of applications has meant that admissions officers have to be highly selective in granting interviews. At the outset, it should be realized that the interview is not just a brief exchange between yourself and one or more representatives of the school that has requested your appearance. The interview should not be looked upon as a one sided affair, but rather as an opportunity for a dialogue that has advantages for both the school and you.
THE INTERVIEW WILL PERMIT THE SCHOOL TO DETERMINE:
1. If your personal attributes are as appealing as your academic record.
2. If your personal attributes will place you in the overall acceptable range (if you are borderline);
3. If you are considered to have some obvious academic or physical deficiency, whether you have the personal attributes to overcome the deficiency.
THE INTERVIEW WILL PERMIT YOU TO:
1. Have an opportunity to sell yourself by projecting as favorable an image as possible, and thus overcoming any deficiencies in your record;
2. Familiarize yourself with the campus, its facilities, and with the members of its student body;
3. Obtain first hand answers to questions about the school that may not yet have been answered.
WHAT IS THE INTERVIEWER LOOKING FOR?
Remember that the interview is another chance to sell yourself so make sure you dress appropriately and be friendly. The interviewer, often times a faculty member, will be looking at:
- Communication skills: Can you express your ideas clearly and intelligently.
- Motivation: Do you have goals for yourself and do you seem interested in the program?
- Maturity: Are you responsible enough to be successful in the field?
- Interests: What educational, social, and cultural interests do you have?
Intellectual potential: Have you demonstrated superior intellectual ability?
There are many things that you can do to help you prepare for your interview:
- Make a list of your experiences and talents relating to the field of study you are pursuing.
- Read the school’s catalog and become familiar with any special facilities or programs it has to offer.
- Discuss with fellow applicants from Wartburg their experiences at interviews at various schools.
- Be prepared to explain your specific interest in the school you are visiting.
- Be prepared to discuss, in detail, any research or projects you have completed.
- Practice with friends and colleagues.
- Be well rested, alert, and honest.
- Dress appropriately and arrive early for the interview.
- Be yourself. Do not exaggerate your scholastic achievements or activities.
- Write thank-you notes following your interview.
TYPICAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
- Why do you want to become a _____?
- What other schools have you applied for?
- Why did you get a poor grade in____?
- Did you participate in any special projects in college?
- Why do you think you are better suited for admission than your classmates?
- What has been your most significant accomplishment to date?
- Describe any research project you’ve worked on at Wartburg College.
- What will you do if you are not accepted?
- How do you rank among other students in your major at your school?
QUESTIONS TO ASK
- How many students will be in my entering class?
- What is the average time to obtain a Masters/Ph.D?
- Who selects the thesis/dissertation committee?
- Is the support offered in the form of a teaching or research assistantship? How much is the stipend?
- Are you guaranteed support for the entire time, or is it on a year by year basis?
ASK CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS…
- Do the students have enough time for a social life?
- What is the academic social environment like?
- Is the atmosphere highly competitive?