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Graduate School Interview Questions

A graduate school provides higher academic degrees such as a master's degree and a doctoral degree (Ph. D.). Admission to a graduate school demands a fundamental requirement that the candidate should possess an undergraduate degree. You are supposed to clear a round or many rounds of interviews in order to secure your enrollment into the respective graduate school.

The interviews are mostly one-on-one and may last for 20 to 90 minutes. They are for assessing your potential in their desired areas and helps them assess you efficiently. Such interviews are usually structured and conversational. The most probable sample interview questions and their answers listed below will help you get a better idea of the interviews and clear them.

Question 1: How would you describe yourself?

Answer 1: It is the most common question asked in interviews. You have to mention and elaborate all your positive points briefly, which will surely increase your chances of admissions. Always be specific when you describe your qualities. It is advisable to start with the most relevant qualities first and then go on adding one by one. Try to keep this answer as short as possible so that you cover all the important aspects, but make sure it does not sound boring to the interviewer.

Question 2: Which aspect of our graduate school interests you the most?

Answer 2: It is better to know the basic facts about the graduate school prior to arriving there for the interview. This question assesses your home work about the essential aspects of the respective school. Thus, always try and speak about the institution to the point. See to it that your objective of seeking admission over there conveys clearly. Instead of talking about good placement assistance of the institution, it is always advisable to talk about your intellectual interests in that institution. If you include your materialistic objectives of life in your answer to this question, it might create a wrong impression.

Question 3: What are your strong points and weaknesses?

Answer 3: This is a tricky question that will assess your personal as well as social qualities. You are supposed to answer this question smartly and include the most relevant aspects of yourselves while answering this question. Strong points that you describe here, should seem to be helpful for your work and weaknesses should not harm your work. If you keep this in mind, then you have found the key to answer this question.

Question 4: Why did you choose this career?

Answer 4: It is advisable to give your honest answer here, because the next question might be interlinked with your answer to this question. Mention your interest, work and achievements in your subject. This will signify your urge to take post graduate education in that subject and pursue a long term career in the same.

Question 5: If you are not selected here at this school, what are your alternative plans?

Answer 5: Such questions are meant to test your ability to plan your career and act accordingly. A wise answer to this question can be that, 'I am looking forward to secure my seat in this school, but if I am not selected this time, I shall try for it and get selected next time' or 'I have kept a few other alternatives and am going to apply at those institutes for the same programme'.

Question 6: What would be the greatest challenge, if you are selected for this programme in our school?

Answer 6: Your answer to this question will indicate the depth of your knowledge in your subject of interest. It is advisable to mention your belief in continually learning and grasping new techniques quickly. You can mention here that you are a sincere, hard working candidate and surviving in this field to attain the highest achievements is going to be the greatest challenge for you. To face this challenge, you will need to undergo a lot of hardships and be updated with the knowledge.

Question 7: How do you utilize your free time? OR How do you spend your free hours? OR What are your hobbies?

Answer 7: This is one of the most commonly asked questions in interviews and is for knowing your extra-curricular interests and how do you spend your spare time. Try and give answers that will benefit you and the interviewer will develop interest in your hobbies. Answers like 'roaming', 'hanging out with friends', or, 'chilling' are never acceptable. It is recommended that you mention some of your interesting, creative, and productive hobbies. So answer this question in a manner that will give the interviewer a glimpse of your personality.

Question 8: How do you face challenging situations in your life?

Answer 8: This question is designed to evaluate your problem solving ability and skills to adjust yourself in a particular situation. Even though it is college life, it brings with new challenges every day. The interviewers want to make sure that they enroll a candidate who is physically and mentally strong enough to tackle tough situations in life.

Question 9: Where do you see yourself after a few years from now?

Answer 9: Your answer to this question will highlight your compassion and dedication towards your goal. It is absolutely fine if you cannot mention your long term goals. You just need to put forth your short term goals and tell the interviewer how you are heading towards it gradually. Being balanced, honest, and open minded is the key to crack this question.

Question 10: Do you have any questions for me?

Answer 10: This question indicates the probable end of your interview; however, your answer to this can probably become a successful beginning of your career at the institution. This question also needs homework as you have to ask only those questions the answers to which are not present in the school website or are very commonplace. Ask at least one question to exhibit your interactive and curious nature. Make sure that the questions that you ask are logical, thoughtful, and specific to that particular institution.


Graduate school brings with it many challenges and exciting opportunities and the questions that are asked during interviews while seeking admission to such schools are usually based on the types of challenges, professional and personal, faced by a student during his or her tenure at the school. Be prepared and best of luck!.

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