Ace Your Interview! CPS Help Tips

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Our graduate program interviews offer the opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to meet you, consider you as a person apart from your application and evaluate your fit to the program. Just as you would in a job interview, you want to be sure you’re as much a fit for the program as it is for you. The way to do that is to ask lots of thoughtful questions.

In that regard, we asked our faculty for some tips to help you ace your interview:

  • Ask us questions. The interview day is as much of an opportunity for you to ensure that our program is a fit for you. It is also an opportunity for us to see if you are a fit for the program. We are interested in candidates who are curious and thoughtful about their educational experience. We want to know what interests you have about our program, our research, our students and us! The best way to communicate that is to ask questions.
  • Relax! We just want to get to know you. Interview day is about previewing what life can be like for you for if you’re in our program. Talk to your fellow candidates and our current students to see what it might be like to have them as peers. If you wish to meet the faculty members, but you don’t have a meeting scheduled with them on interview day, please stop by our offices to connect anyway. We love what we do here and are eager to share that love with others!
  • Rehearse commonly asked questions. Identify your strengths and growing edges. Review your past achievements so you can present evidence on your qualifications and educational background. Include feedback from others, improvements you have made or challenges you have overcome.
  • Inquire about research goals for Ph.D. programs. The matches between program goals, faculty interests and the your research interests are important. Before the interview, spend some time on the website reviewing faculty interests. Skim some of the research papers they’ve written. Think about what interests you and how that might mesh with what our faculty members research. Be ready to talk about who you think you might want to work with and why.
  • Demonstrate how much you’ve thought about the program. The questions you ask show how much you’ve thought about the program. They can give you important information about what life is like in the department. Think about what you need to know and don’t be reluctant to ask difficult questions. On the other hand, don’t ask questions just to ask questions.
  • Empower Yourself: You’re Interviewing Them Too. Remember that this is your chance to interview the program, the facilities and the faculty as well. You’ll tour the facilities and lab spaces and will have many opportunities to ask questions. This is your interview too! You want to be sure that our program, faculty and your student peers are the right match for you. During the interview, you should evaluate the program just as the faculty are evaluating you.

And then…

Congratulate yourself! You’ve made it to the short list of applicants and are under serious consideration for admission!