Advice for Grad School Interview

posted 3 years ago in College
Post # 3
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Good luck! 

My grad school interviews were pretty tiring. I was talking to different people about their research all day, and then there was a party at night. I suggest taking advantage of whatever down time you can.

The best advice I can give is to practice discussing your research interests ahead of time in a clear and concise manner, and to ask people leading questions about their research. The professors and grad students you’ll meet are all studying a huge diversity of subjects, and love talking about their research. 

If you have enjoyable discussions about research, people will remember you as someone who was engaging and excited about your field. 

Post # 4
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

What’s your major? I never went through the formal graduate school applications/interview process, because both times (MS and PhD), I just contacted the person I wanted to work with directly. I’d suggest browsing the faculty list, and finding a few profs you’d like to meet with. Make sure you’re familiar with their work (at least skim their 5 or so most recent papers). 

If you’re a scientist, decide whether you’d like to be a modeler or experimentalist. Make sure to ask other students you meet which advisors are the best to work for. If you meet students of the profs you interview with, ask them what their management style is. I always tell first-year students that the most important thing is to work with someone you get along with, especially if you’re doing a PhD. Your advisor will be your mentor, and really has the potential to shape your career, so having a great relationship is crucial. Good Luck!

PS- I think that skirt is too short. It doesn’t matter if your outfit it cute. Just make sure you dress conservatively. 

Post # 6
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2015


I am medical school so I’ve done (and will have to do) many interviews. I like the outfit you showed, but I think you might want to add a light vest or cute jacket/blazer on top. I think that for health sciences it’s really important to show that you have people skills, and a great personality. Your supervisor will want to work with someone who is smart and easy to talk to. So I do think that it’s important to have a cute outfit that show you have a balanced life 🙂 


Just be yourself, and practice talking about your qualities and experiences to make sure you really get the message across! 


I’m sure everything will go well, GOOD LUCK!

Post # 8
1043 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@MrsShev:  i only did 2 grad school interviews – one for medschool and one for chiropractic. At both, everyone was dressed ultra conservative in black pant suits. There was one girl at the medschool interview who wore a skirt suit, with no hose on, and it was scandalous. Lol i suggest seeing if there are any boards or information elsewhere on the net specific to your achool or programme to see what to wear. 


As far as what they are expecting from you – every school is different. If you’ve done research, know it inside and out, if you volunteer, be able to freely discuss it. My medschool interview was very relaxed and personal. They focused on one key point in our application essay. For me it was my volunteer coaching (and i have published research from my undergrad, so it was shocking and unexpected that they focused on this aspect of my life). For my chiro interview, it was a bit different as it was a bunch of little stations, and at each, there was a different interviewer who asked a different question. (There’s a specific name for this type of interview but I can’t for the life of me remember). Most questions were character assesment type questions.


i ended up getting into both schools, but I accepted the medschool before even hearing back from the chiropractic college. They gave us a reply within a week, which was fantastic, so I also got to cancel the rest of my scheduled grad school interviews.


Best of luck!

Post # 9
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@MrsShev: Good luck!!

My best advice, from when I went through PhD interviews: Find out ahead of time who you’ll be interviewing with (I had 5 interviewers for one program, and 3 interviewers at another school). Research their projects and come up with specific questions that you’re actually interested in. Also, come up with some more questions about the atmosphere at the school, placement of alums, etc. (Make sure to ask about topics that are not covered on their website, so they won’t just think you were too lazy to look it up!)

In addition, you can show your interest by asking to meet with some current students, and ask careful questions to the students – they can offer great insight on what a program is really like. BUT stay on your guard at all times – my program pays for current students take the interviewees out to dinner (ostensibly as a casual relaxation time for the prospective students to get to know us and see some of the city). But we’re actually still interviewing them – the faculty expect us to get to know them in a more casual setting and see what they reveal. They definitely ask us our opinions on who should be let in – both positive and negative. So be careful with everyone you meet!

Edited to add: definitely make sure you have a good 2-minute introduction to your research interests, a selection of the top 3ish things you want to highlight from your resume when you get an opportunity to mention your past experiences, and a good response to the question “why is this school a good match for your career goals”.

Post # 10
2319 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think the knee length skirt is fine 🙂

The one graduate school interview I had was for the vocational rehabilitation counseling program and it was very relaxed and informal. It was a Q&A with the professors and a writing sample.

Best of luck on your interview! 🙂

Post # 11
4961 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I had a grad school interview for my special education master’s. I wore a suit (I guess that was kind of silly – but I guess being overdressed is better than under) and it was actually very informal.

I was supposed to be in there with 3 other people, but they didn’t show up so I just chatted with the head of the department. She asked me some basic questions (my favorite was – if you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? I said my favorite baseball player’s name then was like DAMN IT THAT WAS DUMB! But true! LOL) and then I left (and got accepted-woo!). 


Good Luck! 🙂

Post # 12
444 posts
Helper bee

@MrsShev:  Thought I’d put in my two cents.  I don’t know exactly how it is interviewing for OT.  I’m studying psychology.  However I went to four of those suckers so I’m hoping some of my experiences might help.  Yes, it can be exhausting, but I bet it will be more so with the overnight flight.  You already have some good advice here so far.

If research is a big part of the program, then how well your interests match that of the professor’s plays a big role in whether you will get accepted (so if you don’t get accepted to one, it isn’t necessarily that you aren’t good enough).  Going into my first interview, the professor I had been working with recommended I practice three versions of my interests: one sentence long, one minute long, and five minutes long.  I’m glad he suggested this, because I used each of them depending on the situation.

The current students will be involved, too.  I always had opportunities with them away from the faculty on my interviews.  Yes, as the other students said, the professors will ask for their feedback.  Obviously, your guard doesn’t have to be as high with them, but just keep that in mind.  Use them to your advantage.  Ask them what the professor’s teaching style is, and other concrete questions.  Sometimes, a professor can be a jerk, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to them, so you hopefully can get a more realistic view of the professor through his/her students.

But remember, they’re flying you in because they like you!  You are inteviewing them, too!  So ask questions to make sure you like the professor and the program, too!  You want a good fit for yourself, and you want to show that you are invested in your education.

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