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Interview tips


ITISRED

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I just received my first invitation to an interview! It's at University of Oregon and I'm thrilled! I'm also very nervous! I'd appreciate any tips on preparation and dress (for women), and what to expect once I'm there.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous thread, I am looking for an LGBT friendly school and town. I imagine University of Oregon won't be a problem in this regard, but does anyone know how I can find out more?

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I had my first grad school interview at University of Rochester in late October, and it went well (I was then admitted two weeks after). Some tips / suggestions I can give:

- Read up on your program, and its strengths. Talk about why you want that particular program vs other schools' programs (for me, I applied for Higher Ed/Student Affairs, and Rochester has a specific program for Student Affairs & Advising, which aligns with my interests).
- Find any professors that you would like to work with and why. Maybe they're researching on your interests, etc (I was actually writing a paper about students' motivation written by a UoR professor for my class this semester, so that worked great!)
- Also try to contact other professors (or said professor above) to see if you can schedule an informational interview to talk more about your interests / see what their thoughts about the program, learn more about assistantships opportunities and all that. (I met up with the professor who wrote the paper I was writing on, and he even invited me to join him in a research discussion group with his doctoral students, which was an amazing opportunity for me).
- If you have time, try to also look at on-campus graduate housing if you're planning to live on campus. This would help in the future if you are admitted, so at least you know your options and have seen the places.
- Dress like you would any other interview. I was in dress pants, shirt, blazer and black shoes. Write a copy of your resume / transcripts / etc in case they need it (probably they will have all from your application, but just to be safe!). And while I would say wear safe colors (like beige, white/black, natural ones that do not stand out that much like pink or green), I think this all depends on how you can pull it off and make it look good. I wore a red blazer for my interview, mainly because it's one of my favorites and I matched it with my hijab and pants.
- Arrive earlier than your stated interview time. I arrived at Rochester a day earlier so I have time to walk around and find my way to the interview place, and to help with last minute preparation and calming my nerves down. The next day, I had my friend send me about 30-45 minutes earlier, so I was waiting in the lobby while Facetime-ing my Mum back home and all. 
- Have good questions about the program. Ask about assistantship opportunities, funding, research, class size, etc.

 

Hope this helps, and good luck!

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2 hours ago, ITISRED said:

I just received my first invitation to an interview! It's at University of Oregon and I'm thrilled! I'm also very nervous! I'd appreciate any tips on preparation and dress (for women), and what to expect once I'm there.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous thread, I am looking for an LGBT friendly school and town. I imagine University of Oregon won't be a problem in this regard, but does anyone know how I can find out more?

Congratulations! And good luck. I have not had any formal interviews, but I have been to Eugene and while it is small-ish, I'd consider it fairly queer friendly. A quick google found this: https://www.facebook.com/QueerEugeneWeb/

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4 hours ago, stereopticons said:

I would talk to the other grad students in the program to get a social climate of the city and what the pros/cons of the area are. Be careful, though. Grad students do often have a say in who is accepted. 

I'll second this. I was also supposed to meet up with a grad student currently in the program, but she was working at the time I came. I did communicate with her through email though, asking questions related to the program with a student's perspectives and all. This would be valuable to assess the program as well! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would also recommend not talking about your research interests or the subject area you wish to study the entire time. They want to see that you're a person outside of your research interest (because they'll have to spend a lot of time around you - they want to see that you are relatable). But still be professional (i.e., don't talk about getting hammered). 

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