Interviewing for Graduate School?

My apologies readers,

I have had an inordinately long hiatus from blogging…but since I have had a number of folks revive my blogging through questions….specifically about interviewing for graduate school, here are my suggestions about that.

1.) Be professional

No matter what, whether you are in the middle of campus interviews or out for drinks with graduate students. You ARE ALWAYS ON. That means, under all circumstances, you are still interviewing, do not let your hair down (as it were) to share negative thoughts about your college, the interview process or your interviewees. When you are interviewing, you are always under the spot light. Find the positive in most all circumstances or remain silent about those experiences. The interview process is generally a “jerk test” to see who will fit or not within the culture of the laboratory of the program to which you have been invited.

That said,

2.) Try to be Natural

One of the mistakes I made when I was interviewing, not for graduate schools but for professor positions, I had a script. And I followed that script, a series for questions, structured interviews and so on, for each person that would talk with me. This was a mistake. It felt artificial and everyone knew it. You don’t want that. While you’re visiting schools and their programs, remember that these are people who are trying to get a sense of who you are. They want to know if they can tolerate you in the lab, in their classes, or in service responsibilities. Try to be natural. Show of your sense of humor.  Behave as you normally would, but with some filter. Keep your opinions to yourself, but keep your humor, your humanity, and any questions you might have tactful.

3.) Ask Questions

Everyone likes to talk about themselves. If you ask about the program to which you are applying, the professor’s or the graduate students’ projects, and the degree to which graduate students (who you will be spending most of your time with) like their mentors, it will tell you a lot about whether you will want to be there. Ask about current events and what people do for fun.

These are some brief tips for your interview.

Best of luck,

Heide

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