Not all graduate programs require an admissions interview – but for applicants to the ones that do, it’s often the most intimidating step of the admissions process.

The interview requirement is one more way in which grad school admissions are more like a professional rite of passage than they are like undergraduate college admissions. Applicants will improve their interview performance by preparing themselves for a grad school interview the same way they would for a job interview.

Before your interview with the admissions committee, do your homework. Familiarize yourself with the program offerings, faculty bios, and the latest happenings within the program. Prepare yourself for the questions that might be asked during the interview.

When the big day arrives, dress professionally. Follow the standard rules of interviewing: Start with a firm handshake, make eye contact during interview, and ask appropriate questions. After the interview, be sure to follow up with a thank-you note to the interviewer.

Finally, remember that it’s not only your application you’re being judged on. It’s the overall presentation you make.

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