Once you have graduated from college with your bachelor's and master's degrees and you have begun to consider moving on to a doctorate degree, you will need to brush up on your interview skills. The application process for many graduate schools require you to submit an application, transcripts and fees just like any other school. However, graduate schools typically also require an interview prior to admission. This interview is similar to a job interview and often holds a lot of weight in your admission decision.
Research the school you are interviewing with and the important people at the school. If you go into the interview familiar with the school and those who run it, you are better able to answer questions and exhibit a knowledge of and interest in the school.
Familiarize yourself with the program you are applying to. You will likely be asked questions about the program, and you must be prepared to answer them intelligently.
Compile a list of possible questions that may be asked. Ask people you know who have gone through the process or professors from your last school for help compiling the list. Practice with this list of questions. Ask someone to interview you from the list and answer as you would in the real interview.
Determine your strengths, weaknesses and goals. These are all questions that are typically asked in doctoral program interviews. Know your answers before you go into the interview, but do not answer too quickly. Appear to give it some thought before you answer.
Create a list of questions you have about the school or the doctorate program. Asking questions shows interest in the program.
Dress up for the interview. Men should wear a suit coat and tie; women should wear a business-style pantsuit or dress. Black is the most professional color, but other neutral colors may also work.
Show your personality. An interview for a doctoral program is typically not used to determine how much you know. Interviewers want to see how you think and how you would fit into the program.
Focus on your strengths throughout the interview process. If you are asked about your weaknesses, you should answer, but sandwich any weaknesses between positive statements, or turn the weakness into an asset. For example, if you are asked about your biggest weakness as a student, discuss your perfectionism, but spin it so it sounds like a strong drive to succeed rather than a negative attribute.
Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Smile and shake hands firmly at the beginning and end of the interview. Your demeanor should exhibit confidence.
Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview for taking the time to speak with you and send a thank-you note within a week of the interview.
- Never speak negatively about any of your educational experiences or any professor you have worked with. Speaking negatively often shows a lack of professionalism.
Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.