An invitation to interview at the graduate program of your choice is an amazing opportunity to let the graduate committee get to know you - but the purpose of the grad school admissions interview is also for you to learn about the graduate program. All too often applicants forget that they too are conducting an interview. Take advantage of the opportunity an admissions interview offers you good questions that will gather the information that you need to determine if this is the right program for you. Remember that you are interviewing the graduate program - you must choose the program that is right for you.
Asking good questions not only tells you what you need to know about a graduate program, but it tells the admissions committee that you are serious. Good, genuine, questions can impress admissions committees.
Questions to Ask During a Graduate Admissions Interview
- What characteristics are specific to this program and distinguish it from competitors? (Be sure to refer to specific characteristics)
- Where are recent alumni employed? What do most students do after graduation?
- What types of financial aid are offered? What criteria are used for choosing recipients?
- Are there any scholarships or fellowships available? How do I apply?
- Are there teaching opportunities, such as teaching assistantships and adjunct positions?
- Do most students publish an article or present a paper before graduation?
- What applied experiences are included in the program (e.g., internships)? Ask for examples of internship placements.
- What is the relative importance of admissions test scores, undergraduate grades, recommendations, admissions essays, experience, and other requirements?
- Does the department prefer applicants immediately out of undergraduate programs or do they prefer applicants with work experience? If they prefer or require experience, what kind of experience are they looking for?
- How are mentoring and advising relationships established? Are advisors assigned?
- How long do most students take to graduate? How many years of coursework? How long do most students take to complete their dissertations?
- Do most students live near campus? What is it like to live in this area as a graduate student?
- How closely do students work with faculty? Is it common for students and faculty to publish together?
- How long does the average student take to complete a dissertation, roughly?
- How is the dissertation process structured? Are committee members assigned?