Typical interview questions in a graduate school admissions interview

  • The graduate school interview is a time to let your personality shine.
    The graduate school interview is a time to let your personality shine.

    Typical interview questions in a graduate school admissions interview

    When you’re thinking about going to graduate school, you’re probably looking through the admissions requirements. Even though it’s not necessary in the pursuit of all masters’ degrees, you may be required to participate in an interview with an admissions officer. Don’t fret – you can prepare for your grad school interview by looking at common questions and deciding how you think you’d answer them. Here are some things an admissions officer might ask you:

    Can you tell me a little about yourself?

    This is usually a good ice-breaker, in which the admissions officer can begin to get a basic read of your passions and personality. Be personable and try to stay away from selling yourself too hard this early into the interview.

    What has been your biggest accomplishment in your career or education?

    The admissions officer might ask specifically about something great that you did during your undergraduate education, or – if you have experience working in the field – this individual might want to find out more about one of your career feats. When you’re answering this question, make sure you explain the accomplishment, then go into detail about the results of this achievement. Whether it helped you earn an award at your undergraduate school or helped your company overcome a huge obstacle, it’s worth going into detail about the effects of this triumph.

    What is the last book you read?

    This question might catch you a little off-guard. It’s meant to. But the main purpose of why graduate admissions officers tend to like this question so much is because regular reading suggests that you’re interested in personal development. This is essential, given the fact that a lot of reading goes into your homework and assignments in graduate school.

    You might feel compelled to tell them that you’re reading something inspiring, like a work by Malcolm Gladwell, or related to your field. However, if you’re honest about the fact that you’re reading the Harry Potter books for the fifth time or have recently been fascinated by graphic novels, the interviewer won’t be put off, no matter how non-academic your reading is. It’s best to use your judgment here on what book you’d like to talk about.

    What are your professional goals?

    This is the portion of the interview when you’ll really need to sell yourself. Graduate schools want to make sure their students are ambitious and that their graduates will put their degrees to good use. Whether you’re interested in getting an MBA to gain expertise on a certain area of business or earning a master’s in History to become a professor, it’s beneficial to go into detail about what career path you’re planning on taking and how you believe a master’s degree from their university can lead you in the right direction.

    Why did you choose to apply to our program?

    This question is huge. Prestigious graduate schools want to make sure they’re bringing on individuals who are passionate about their specific program, as they want as many students starting the program to finish it. Before your interview, research the program and pick out a few qualities about it that set it apart from the rest. Try to avoid using geographical location and prestigiousness as reasons you’re interested in the program. Instead, talk about the program’s specific courses, specializations, internship opportunities and research tutorials.

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