For professionals looking to improve their career prospects, a postgraduate degree can be the perfect solution, as you can learn new skills and improve your CV. Perhaps you’ve found the ideal course and university for you, applied to study, and have been offered a place on one condition: you pass an in-person interview.
After a long time spent in the corporate world, going back to university for an interview can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you prepare in advance. Just like a big job interview, the time leading up to your master’s or PhD interview can be seriously nerve-wracking. Still, the good news is that the more time and effort you put into getting yourself fully prepared, the more confident you’re going to feel both before, during and after the interview.
Check out these top tips to best prepare yourself for your upcoming advanced degree admissions interview.
Get to Grips with Common Questions
Just like job interviews, you never know exactly what you’re going to be asked when interviewing for an advanced degree course place – but you can expect some common postgraduate interview questions and themes to run through the meeting.
For example, you may be asked to describe your experience as an undergraduate student or master’s student if you’ve applied for a Ph.D., or you may be asked to give some further details about why you’ve chosen to study a particular topic, what interests you about it and why you’re passionate about it.
You’ll probably also be asked to describe why you chose that particular university and what you can bring to the table as a student or PhD researcher. Check out these common PhD questions to help you prepare, and hopefully, you’ll have the perfect answers to give them.
Learn About the University
Just like an employer, a university is going to be unlikely to accept you if you don’t know the last thing about the institution and what it does. In the excitement of researching and learning all about what to expect from the advanced degree course that you have chosen to apply for, don’t forget to brush up on your knowledge about the university that you apply to as well.
Getting familiar with the resources, facilities, history, values, goals and objectives of your chosen university will make it easier for you to determine where you’re going to fit in and describe exactly how you can be an asset should they accept your application to study there.
Know What You Want
Masters and PhD degree programmes that require an interview tend to be quite specific, with universities looking for certain types of people to fill course vacancies. While there doesn’t always have to be a huge reason for wanting to study an advanced degree, knowing exactly what you want to do with it – or at least having a general idea that you’re passionate about will go in your favour.
Admissions tutors want to see postgraduate students who have a goal in mind and are ambitious enough to do whatever it takes to reach it.
Don’t Forget Extra-curriculars
Admissions tutors are interested in learning more about what you have done in the past either as a student or in your line of work that’s outside of what’s expected. Be prepared to talk about some of the extracurricular activities that you have been involved in, including any extra courses that you’ve taken for work or anything else that you organised at your company.
Charitable endeavours, for example, are great ways to demonstrate skills and commitment if you’re applying for advanced nursing or social work degree. In contrast, any extracurricular positions of leadership will work in favour of those looking to get a place on an advanced business course.
Present Yourself Well
Last but not least, it should go without saying that on the day of the interview you should present yourself well. Arrive early so that you have plenty of time to ensure that you’re prepared and can start the interview calm and collected.
Speak calmly, demonstrate your communication and listening skills and make eye contact with your interviewer. Go into the interview, feeling confident in yourself and your abilities, and this will shine through.
Interviewing for an advanced degree course can be stressful because the rest of your life rides on your success. Keep these tips in mind and get started with preparing yourself as early as possible to improve your chance of being offered a place.