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  1. #1
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    Default Grad School Interview!!!! Need Some Input

    So it's about that time, and some universities are starting to reply to my psychology graduate school applications. The first school to respond to me (Fresno State) wishes to follow up my application with an on-campus interview.

    I have no idea what to expect. I don't expect this to be too similar to a job interview. Anybody have experience with graduate interviews? Anyone have any knowledge about Fresno State interviews in general?

    I just want some casual insight/speculation/experiences. It would be great if any of you are familiar with the line of questioning as well. My interview is this Friday at 10:00. Thanks in advance everyone.

  2. #2
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Depends on the prof who'll be interviewing.

    Actually, is this the school (i.e. faculty of grad studies) doing the interviewing or is it the professor who you want to be working under interviewing? The two are not the same.

    I've never had the first type... but the "interview" meeting with my prof was quiet informal. Mostly like talk about what I've done in the past, courses or otherwise, why I am interested in the field etc. It's mostly just to see how well you'll get along with the prof and whether you seem "competent" strictly based on first impressions.
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  3. #3
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    My initial interview with the faculty from my school was over the phone, and then I interviewed with one of the other professors later. My experience was a lot like nightning's -- really informal, asking you a little about yourself, interests, why you want to be in the program or in that particular field, why you chose their program over other schools, past coursework, etc.

    Try not to sweat it too much...just be yourself.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Depends on the prof who'll be interviewing.

    Actually, is this the school (i.e. faculty of grad studies) doing the interviewing or is it the professor who you want to be working under interviewing? The two are not the same.

    I've never had the first type... but the "interview" meeting with my prof was quiet informal. Mostly like talk about what I've done in the past, courses or otherwise, why I am interested in the field etc. It's mostly just to see how well you'll get along with the prof and whether you seem "competent" strictly based on first impressions.
    This will be an interview with two of my potential mentors (professors). They said that at 12:00 they will provide us with lunch. The coordinator informed me that some of the interviews will be concluded at or before that time, and some may even end at 4:00. Hopefully not the latter for me, this would seem to be a daunting interview (one that would last 4-6 hours?!). Ahh well, gotta do what I gotta do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    My initial interview with the faculty from my school was over the phone, and then I interviewed with one of the other professors later. My experience was a lot like nightning's -- really informal, asking you a little about yourself, interests, why you want to be in the program or in that particular field, why you chose their program over other schools, past coursework, etc.

    Try not to sweat it too much...just be yourself.
    Hopefully it is as casual as you relate. I'll try to be myself, lol. When I'm stressed I tend to lie; I will try my best to keep that under control. However, when I am extremely stressed, I tend to be very frank and honest. Either way, extremes cannot be good for me. =)

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    Ultimately I have a hunch telling me that they want me for the job, and that they really do believe that I deserve it. This concluding interview is basically just the confirmation stage of their evaluation, relieving them of their insecurities and doubts of me as a competent graduate researcher. I may be incorrect, but based off of my telephone conversations with them and their persistence in spite of my lackluster undergraduate academic record, this is what I honestly believe.

  6. #6
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WithoutaFace View Post
    Hopefully not the latter for me, this would seem to be a daunting interview (one that would last 4-6 hours?!). Ahh well, gotta do what I gotta do.
    Don't feel too concern about the 4-6hour long "interview" Most profs I know like to talk... and have a coffee/beer while talking. The extra time is probably put in as a buffer period for them to get there. Profs are rarely in the lab. The actual "interview" probably wouldn't take longer than 20min per prof. Also half of the time they'll be telling you about the department, their research etc etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Don't feel too concern about the 4-6hour long "interview" Most profs I know like to talk... and have a coffee/beer while talking. The extra time is probably put in as a buffer period for them to get there. Profs are rarely in the lab. The actual "interview" probably wouldn't take longer than 20min per prof. Also half of the time they'll be telling you about the department, their research etc etc.
    Wow, I see. A buffer does seems like a more reasonable explanation for the absurd "interview" duration. I'll keep that in mind, perhaps I was just being paranoid.

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    BTW, what grad schools (and departments) did you guys apply for in the past?

  9. #9
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    I applied to 2 different schools...don't wanna get too specific, but both were large state schools (the 2nd and 3rd largest in my state ~20,000-28,500 students). For the smaller school, I didn't even interview...they just accepted me. I attended there for one semester, hated it, and transferred to the larger university. It was there they interviewed me before acceptance.

    My degree program is Masters of Arts in Teaching with my base certification/specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language. Granted, teaching is not exactly known as the most rigorous of graduate programs, but it comes with its own set of annoyances, hoops to jump through, and disorganization. I mean, you only needed to get an 800 on the GRE to be considered for acceptance. I think teaching programs are more likely to let people in simply because it's kinda more task-based than research-based. My program is technically a non-thesis program, but I have to build a portfolio based on theory, research, and practice. Actually, it's really funny they call it a non-thesis program, because really, that title is deceiving. My portfolio will easily top off around 70+ pages.

    Anyway, like nightning said, you'll probably spend about 20ish minutes per professor. I've never had a meeting longer than like 30 mins. Even when interviewing for graduate research or teaching assistantships within my department and other departments the interviews were never really intimidating or long. Seriously, don't freak yourself out about it. However, in my experience, if you have time to work a graduate research assistantship, then find one and DO IT! You'll usually get some sort of tuition waiver and then get paid a stipend on top of that. Sweetest thing EV-ar! Plus, you can get to know the important people within your dept. really well...which is always a plus.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    I was a lazy ass that applied in the department where I did my undergrad degree... so the whole acceptance process was "easier" for me since people in the department know me already.

    I'm at a fair-sized university in Canada, probably the largest in my province. The classification of state university etc is different here? I'm not sure how that translates to things in the States. My degree is in Pharmacology (aka drug study)... This is a MSc based on a research thesis.

    Because mine is a research thesis... I applied for funding from Tri-counsel and the university and so I get paid a stipend without needing to TA. Other larger science departments like Biology/Chemistry etc will be more difficult to get direct funding since each university is allocated a set number of applications per department. But they also get more TA-ing opportunities.

    For the Arts/Humanities students... I don't think you get much of a stipends...
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