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Graduate School Interviews

The interview can be the deciding factor when admissions committees choose who to accept. Interviewers want to see if you have the characteristics to succeed in graduate school, such as maturity, interpersonal skills, self-determination, sincere interest, and motivation. Use the interview to evaluate if the program is a fit for you. Familiarize yourself with the campus and its facilities and resources, and obtain first-hand answers to questions about the program.


Accept the interview in writing by sending a formal letter. Treat your graduate school interview professionally and be prepared.

  • Understand the training emphasis of the program and faculty research interests. Read up on research performed by faculty members with whom you may be interested in working.
  • Review your own interests, goals, and qualifications and be prepared to talk about them in detail.
  • Anticipate questions about weaknesses in your application (grades, tests scores, background checks, etc). Formulate responses to questions about your weaknesses with how you have addressed them and what you have learned. Do not make excuses.
  • Answer: What can you contribute to their graduate program and research? Why should they accept you? What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
Student talking with employer


Formats will vary: one-on-one, panel, telephone or multiple interviews with any combination of formats can be expected. Some interviews may be full weekend events with faculty, current students, and other applicants. Remember to follow up with a thank you note.


Make an appointment to meet with your career coach to discuss interview content, then practice with Big Interview.