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How to prepare for PhD interview in Art History

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Hi Everyone,

I'd really appreciate any advice that people have about campus visits and interviews. I'll be flying across the globe for this interview and spending more money than the school can reimburse, so I'd appreciate any advice anyone might have. I applied to the Art History department, but I'm specializing in cinema studies. I'm so nervous that my heart is pounding as I'm typing this. Here are a few general questions that I have:

1) What do I wear (male)?

2) How do I prepare?

3) What is going to happen during the process? (It's an entire weekend event, and they're putting me up in a hotel for two nights.)

4) What kinds of questions do they ask?

5) What are they looking for during the interview? My general knowledge on the subject? My demeanor? My ability to communicate?

6) Are they going to be quizzing me?

Thanks so much.

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I received some good advice for your first question: try looking up the faculty page for the school an look at what the faculty are wearing in their pictures. It can be helpful to base your outfit off of theirs. That way you should be in the optimum casual/formal range for that particular department.

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1. Seconding what LLajax said and adding that it's smart to pack outfits that can be dressed up or down as necessary. Since you'll be there for an entire weekend, some events will probably be slightly more casual than others.

2. Read the department's graduate student handbook, mission statement, and faculty profiles. Read one or two recent articles by the faculty members you want to work with, but more importantly just generally familiarize yourself with their research interests, what they've worked on previously and what they're working on now. Reread your SOP and writing sample and come up with a 2-5 minute elevator speech summarizing each.

3. No idea, since I've never been on a weekend-long interview.. but I'm sure someone else can chime in.

4. Well, the obvious ones- why you want to get a Ph.D, what attracted you to their school, what you'd like to research. Be prepared to answer questions about your writing sample and elaborate on things listed on your resume.

5. All of the above. Also that you're not a robot.

6. Definitely not! They want to get to know you, not embarass you by asking you questions that you might not be able to answer.

Also, under the "Applications" section of the board, there's a board specifically with topics on interviews. If you click on most replies/most viewed, a ton of topics come up about what kinds of questions are usually asked plus what to wear (the what to wear topics are pretty fantastic, actually).

Best of luck!

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I think we're attending the same event, or at least a similar one. I'm trying to remind myself that these interviews are really two-way, and that we should be learning as much about the program as they will about us as candidates. As for dress, I think it's important to wear something nice but comfortable--there will probably be a lot of walking. Good luck, I know how anxious you must be feeling! I just want it to be this weekend, the wait is killing me.

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