The Most Probable Questions at Graduate Admission Interviews

Being aware of the questions that appear during the interview is the most important factor for this stage of the admission process. Here you will find the questions usually asked at interview. Yet, the suggestions below the questions are not necessarily to be followed, directly-honest and candid responses are more valuable.

The form the interview takes

Usually the interviews are scheduled to take 20-30 minutes but may take up to 40 minutes. In the beginning, the interviewer, who is typically the professor of your chosen department, will introduce himself welcoming you and checking your name against information in his check list. In return to his introduction, you may say your name. It is not necessary to make full introduction of yourself especially as you will be asked the questions to describe yourself in the best way.

Normally, the professor questions first letting you do that at the end of the conversation. It would be better if you prepare one or two questions that interest you about the program or institution. That will prove your interest. But they should be well grounded on information in the materials issued by the university. The materials are supposed to be scrutinized by the applicant. As one of the Internet sites on admission interviews says, "Don't ask things that are on the first page of the catalog." If the question you have is weak, better give it up.

The most possible questions

What are you doing now?

Describe your occupation. It is better if the job you do is relevant to your chosen field of study. If it is not, do not stop on your major occupation but go swiftly to and emphasize on your extracurricular activities that must relate to your study major. If what you say will specially interest the interviewer, most of the following interrogation will be based upon what you have already said. It will eliminate the formal progress of the interview and naturally prompt you to talk about your interests.

What is the most challenging aspect of your field of study (in your country)?

Review your field of intended study. What do you believe to be the root problem? Or, what do you believe to be the weakest point, etc. Recount it when asked and ground your opinion. It is good if you have solution of your own to offer. You may have a personal challenge within your field of study (you may be questioned specifically on this)-define it and point it out during the interview.

What disciplines in the curriculum are the most appealing to you?

You should know what subjects are offered on the curriculum before the interview. It is implicit that you are familiar with the curriculum from the materials you are provided with by the university. Choose the three (the number usually asked) courses you find most interesting, better from the core (not those from the introductory term or the ones weakly related to the major stem). Be prepared to explain your choice.

The hardest item: THE Be-bold question

In fact it is not the question but rather offering opportunity to represent yourself. Usually the interviewer will invite you to be bold in recommending yourself for the program by explaining your positive qualities and aptitudes in persuasive manner. Recall the information you gave in your essay and/or resume. Explain what you are able to contribute to the program (contribution may be your sharing information from your practical experience, your active participation in social activities, etc). You may remind them of your academic achievements along with TOEFL score (if it is high). However, your answer might be unusual and you will not know what the impact it might make, negative or positive. Both outcomes are possible in this case. It may negatively influence the interview result. On the other hand, the interviewer may appreciate your honesty, frankness and independence of thinking.

Less Probable Questions

Are you ready for multinational (or foreign, or cross-cultural) study?

While answering, recall any multinational experience you have had. We live in a multinational environment, and many ethnic groups contribute to our societies. If you do not have international experience, you may connect an everyday life experience of interaction with the representatives of these groups with your preparation for living in the multinational environment. Also, you can remark on your tolerance towards other nationalities whether based on your experience of socializing with other ethnical groups or skills you believe you possess. You do not need to consider tolerance towards you or be worried about being questioned on it as fostering a tolerant academic environment is the policy of the university.

Are you ready for another language (or just different) environment?

Recollect any experience of living in a place distinct from your habitual environment. You may have traveled abroad or even regions of your own country with distinct culture or with language different from your native. Explain in a positive way your adjustment to such an environment. You may love traveling and learning about other cultures and/or languages. Use it as an argument when answering this question.

What do you expect to gain from the studies?

This question had to be answered in your application. Refer to the information in your application, summarize it and add what you think is necessary. Review what the program offers you and analyze why you have decided to apply to this program.

What skills do you expect to apply to the studies?

You may have covered this in your application as well. If you have, update it and rework it for oral presentation. If you have not, consider the skills you have. Your resume, recommendations (if you know the information in them) and your application may assist you. Decide which skills are applicable for the studies. Note them and restate when asked.

Why have you changed the specialty comparing to the previous one (if you have)?

Alternatively, you may have changed the specialty during your professional experience and are striving to heighten your professional level. In this case you may also recount the circumstances of it.

Why have you decided to continue your education?

Consider the circumstances that encouraged you to undertake this educational endeavor. They may be various: further education may develop your professionalism, bring new opportunities, implement your plans about something specific, or lead to an academic career, etc. Decide yours.

Why have you decided to apply to this university/ individual program)?

Again, this question should be answered in your application. If it is not, to reply consider why you have decided to apply exactly to this university (for this individual program)? Take into account university's significant, unique points. Materials issued by the university usually emphasize them. Pick these peculiarities out and rephrase them when you are asked this question.

Specific Details Questions

If your interest in a new subject is the result of some personal experience, explain how this has come about. Or you may be asked to express your feelings about some events in the world that affect issues in your chosen field. You may also be asked to highlight major problems in your field (in your country) in your opinion. You must be aware of the field of your chosen specialty to corroborate the gravity of your concern.

The other possible questions

  • What recent publications on the subject relevant to your field do you have?
  • How do you see yourself in five (ten) years?
  • What would you say about your country to a person who has no idea of it?
  • Examples of your resolving problems in your life.
  • How would you describe the situation in your field in the world (or in your country)? (or, What is situation in your field in the world (or in your country) in your opinion?)
  • What books have you read (or read currently)?
  • What do you do with your spare time?

Author: RUSLAN ZALOGIN, EDUCATIONAL ADVISER, OSVITA EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION & ADVISING CENTER, DNEPROOETROVSK, UKRAINE

 

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