Popular Graduate or Professional School Interview Questions

Graduate and professional school interviews differ from job interviews because they are looking for candidates who not only have the skills to succeed in their programs, but also the ability to learn. All schools interview differently. Some meet with students individually, as a panel, or with other candidates simultaneously. Ask questions during your admissions process and when you are invited to interview so you are not caught off guard by the format. 
 
Listed below are some popular questions. Interviewers do not expect you to know every answer immediately. Take a few moments to consider your response and answer the questions concisely. Support each response with solid evidence. There is not typically a right answer, just a prepared, confident candidate speaking honestly.
 
For additional assistance, visit the Student Success Center to arrange an individual mock interview. During this appointment you will receive individual consultation that will help you refine your responses and maximize your performance during this crucial conversation. 
 
CAREER GOALS & GENERAL BACKGROUND
  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • Why do you want to pursue graduate school for ________________? 
  • What impacted your decision to go to graduate school? 
  • Why did you select this program/school? 
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the profession by describing the work of your field in your own words.
  • Why did you choose this profession over others? What have you done to investigate the field and confirm your decision?
  • What will you like least about your profession? What are the negative aspects of this occupation?
  • What do you hope to do with a graduate degree in this field? What are your future goals? 
  • What will you do if you fail to gain admission this year?
 
EDUCATION 
  • Tell me about your undergraduate experience at Augustana. How did it prepare you for grad school? 
  • What was your involvement like outside of the classroom? 
  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a team project. What was your role? What were the outcomes? 
  • How would your faculty describe you? 
  • What would you contribute to our program? 
 
EXPERIENCE 
  • What related experience have you had? What did you learn from these experiences? 
  • Tell me about a particular experience which has helped you recognize your interests and strengths. 
  • Tell me about your research.
  • Describe a pressing issue that professionals in your field are currently facing. In your opinion, what are the three most important problems in the field right now?
  • Describe a time you demonstrated initiative.
 
PERSONAL 
  • What motivates you to do your best work? 
  • What do you see as the biggest challenges you will face in graduate school? 
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses? 
  • What has been your biggest failure and how did you handle it? Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it. 
  • How do you handle stress or work under pressure? Give an example.
  • How do you respond to criticism? Describe a time when you received negative feedback regarding your work. What was your reaction?
  • How would others describe you?
  • What is your favorite book? 
  • What is your proudest accomplishment? 
  • What do you like to do in your spare time? 
  • What was your favorite class and why?
 
CONCLUSION 
  • Why should you be accepted into this program? 
  • What questions do you have for us?