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Feb 14, 2020 Return to Blog Homepage

Acing the Graduate School Interview!

Ace the interview

You never thought you’d make it this far. You spent the past year working on applications, studying for the GRE/LSAT/GMAT/etc., and signing up for any and all experiences that you can add to your curriculum vitae and resume. You’ve spent weeks or maybe even months politely chasing down the people you’ve asked to write you letters of recommendation. Now, this is it, you’re on the final stretch. You’ve got the interview! 



  • RSVP to the interview

    • Thank whoever invited you to the interview and let them know you are looking forward to it

  • Dress to impress

    • Try things on beforehand to make sure everything fits

    • Be professional

      • Iron/steam away any wrinkles

      • Wear closed-toe shoes that you could comfortably tour the campus in

      • Remove or touch up any nail polish that might be chipping

      • Keep hair neatly pulled back and out of your face

    • Stick with the status quo (when it comes to outfit colors)

      • Neutral colors such as black, blue, gray, and beige, work great for interviews

  • Bring physical copies of your resume/vitae and something to take notes with

    • Don’t forget to double-check for formatting or spelling errors!

  • Do your homework

    • What is the school/mentor known for? Do their research interests align with your own?

  • Practice your elevator speech

    • This is a ~30-second verbal response to the question you’re guaranteed to get at any interview, “Tell me about yourself.”

  • On that note...practice answering commonly asked questions

    • Why do you want to pursue a degree in [insert here]?

    • Why our school?

  • The entire process is an interview

    • Sometimes you’ll be invited to dinner or social gatherings while at the school. Remember that even if you’re not in the office or classroom that other students will be watching so keep the conversations professional and lighthearted!

  • Send thank-you notes

    • Takedown the information of the people who interviewed you and send a written thank you 

Special thanks to CSU Alumni, Max Teaford for contributing his wisdom to this article. Max graduated from CSU in 2016 with his M.A. in Clinical Psychology and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Miami University.


Written by: Leah Mercedes Sprock

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Current Student