Preparing for Your Grad School Interview: Tips and Common Questions

Once you’ve successfully applied to your dream grad school and they’ve invited you to interview, it’s time to prepare. Post-graduate interviews are usually part of the application process and include personalized questions to assess your qualifications.

Though each graduate program is different, interview panels will often ask general questions to get a sense of your personality and background. Learning some tips and knowing what questions to expect can help you feel more relaxed so you can do your best in the interview.

Student attending grad school interview

Tips for Preparing for a Grad School Interview

When a grad school invites you for an interview, it means they think you could be a good fit for their program. But remember, this interview is also your chance to decide if the school is right for you too. These tips can help you stand out and feel confident when you step into the interview room.

Do Your Research

  • First things first, thoroughly research the school and the program by reviewing their website, social media presence, and course offerings.
  • Familiarize yourself with their recent projects or achievements.
  • Learn what makes the program special and why it interests you.


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Practice With a Mock Interview

  • Boost your confidence by practicing mock interviews with friends or family members.
  • Expect questions about why you want to pursue a graduate degree, your career goals, and how you’ll contribute to the program.
  • Prep your responses so that they highlight skills and achievements that demonstrate you are ready for the program and can do well.

Prepare Questions to Ask the Interviewer

  • Prepare thoughtful questions about the curriculum, research opportunities, and potential career paths.
  • Seek clarity on any confusion about the program and find out what past graduate’s experiences were like.
  • Ask general questions, such as student jobs, financial aid opportunities, or what students do for fun.

Common Graduate School Interview Questions

The interviewers are interested in getting to know you and your potential. This is your chance to showcase your unique personality, skills, and readiness. Being prepared for the questions you might encounter can boost your confidence and help you make a strong impression. Here are a few common questions you can expect to answer during an interview.

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. How will you contribute to our program?
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  4. What are your career goals?
  5. What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
  6. Why are you interested in our program?
  7. Why have you chosen this university?
  8. How do you handle stress?
  9. In what ways have your experiences and training prepared you for graduate study in our program?
  10. Share your opinion on a current issue in your field.

Reminder: When preparing your answers, include examples that showcase your skills, accomplishments, and personal qualities relevant to the program.

Common Types of Interviews

Interviews for a post-grad program can follow several different formats depending on the university and subject you apply to study. They include:

Formal Interview

A formal interview is the most common form of post-grad interview, led by a single interviewer or a panel of staff members. You’ll likely be asked a series of questions relating to why you want to continue your degree in a formal Q&A style format.

Informal Chat

You might be invited for a casual interview in an office, coffee shop, or other campus location. Despite how casual it may feel, it is important to come well prepared, making sure you demonstrate your interest in the program. It may feel like a conversation rather than a formal Q&A, but you should still look for opportunities to showcase your skills and demonstrate professionalism.


If you are applying to do research, you may be asked to present a short presentation outlining your recent studies and processes. This is also used to assess applicants on how well they do in public speaking or leadership.

Video Interview

In some cases, you may not be able to get to your university for an interview, and a video interview will take place instead. Just like face-to-face interviews, the questions may be the same, but you have to think about how you look and sound to those conducting the interview. Make sure your computer has a clear webcam and fast internet. You’ll also want to find a quiet and well-lit space to sit for the interview.

Remember that from the moment you begin your interview, you are showcasing who you are. Always act professionally and respectfully, but above all, be genuine. Schools are looking for someone who fits well with their program, and you want that too. Come prepared to show your strengths and be confident in your preparation. You were invited to the interview because you’re impressive and they see potential in you. Just relax and be yourself! You’ve got this!

READ MORE >> How to Prep for Grad School: 6 Important Steps

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