Interviewing for Graduate School


Questions asked during graduate school interviews

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why did you choose to attend Rhodes College?
  3. What are your long and short-term career goals?
  4. Why did you choose your academic major?
  5. How would you describe the academic climate of Rhodes?
  6. Why are you interested in this particular profession?
  7. What contributions do you expect to make to this program?  This profession?
  8. What is your GPA?  Is it reflective of your abilities?
  9. What subjects did you enjoy most in college?  The least?  Why?
  10. What extracurricular activities have you been involved in?
  11. Why did you choose to apply to this institution for advanced study?
  12. What are your strengths?  Your weaknesses?
  13. What have you done in the past that demonstrates your interest and commitment to this profession?
  14. What traits or characteristics do you think are important for success in this field?
  15. How do you handle stress in your life?

*Be aware that you will probably receive questions about the information you have submitted in your application, such as aspects of your CV and personal statement.  Anything you send them is fair game, so be VERY familiar with your application materials!  Also, be prepared for specific questions about the program to which you are applying.  This means you have to really do your homework before the interview to be well-prepared!

Questions to ask the interviewers

  1. Your program received a top ranking in (name of publication) for your work in (research area, etc).  Do you believe this ranking accurately reflects the quality of your program?  Are there aspects of your program that (name of publication) overlooked?
  2. Given your successful record of placing students after graduation (specific statistics are great here), are there specific steps you take to prepare your students for finding a job?
  3. What are your expectations for incoming graduate students? Other than grades, what are the benchmarks you use to determine how well the students are progressing in your program?
  4. How flexible is the program?  Will I have the option of designing my own program, possibly combining (one area of research interest) with (another area of interest)?
  5. Are assistantships and internships an option?  If so, how are students selected for them?  How many are there?  Where are they?  Are they supervised?
  6. What do you feel distinguishes your graduate students from those in other comparable programs?
  7. I’m very interested in your (name of lab/research facility), and I was wondering, as a graduate student in your program, what opportunities might I have to do some work in this area?

Interview questions sources:  James Madison University, Career Guidebook, 1993; Rhodes Career Services; and Prof. Kenny Morrell