Graduate School Interview Questions

If you are unsure how to answer any of these questions, check out Step 2 of our Interview Prep page for detailed tips on how to correctly answer tricky interview questions.

Questions About You

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your two best points?
  3. What are your two weakest points?
  4. What are three things you want to change about yourself?
  5. How do you handle conflict?
  6. Explain your leadership/research/volunteer experiences.
  7. What extracurricular activities are you engaged in?
  8. Which of your college courses interested you the most?
  9. What interests you outside of attending graduate school?
  10. Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
  11. What do you do in your spare time?
  12. Why did you choose the undergraduate school you went to, and if you could, would you do anything differently?
  13. What do you do to relieve stress?
  14. What course was most academically challenging for you?
  15. If you could pick any three people to have dinner with, who would they be and why did you pick them?
  16. Who are the three most influential people in your life?
  17. How would your professors describe you?
  18. Describe your greatest accomplishments.
  19. Are you motivated? Explain and provide examples.
  20. Tell [Graduate School Name] about a time that you failed at something.

Questions About Your Graduate School Goals

  1. Why do you want to pursue a major in [Insert Major]?
  2. What do you plan to specialize in?
  3. When did you decide this [Insert Major] was a good career choice for you? 
  4. What are your career goals? How will this program help you achieve your goals?
  5. What steps have you taken to confirm that you are pursuing the correct major for you?
  6. What do you think you will like least about graduate school?
  7. What do you think you will like most about graduate school?
  8. Describe any research project you have worked on.  What was the purpose of the project and what was your role?
  9. How will you be able to make a contribution to this field?
  10. What did you do to prepare for the GRE?
  11. How will you handle the stress of graduate school?
  12. What do you think will be your greatest challenge in completing graduate school?
  13. Why do you believe you have the ability to undertake the study and work involved in graduate school?
  14. If you are not accepted, what will you do?
  15. Tell me about your experience in this field. What was challenging? What was your contribution?
  16. How do you intend to finance your education?
  17. What is your philosophy regarding this profession?
  18. What is your concern about the profession?

Questions About the Graduate School

  1. Why did you choose to apply to [Graduate School Name]?
  2. How are you a match for [Graduate School Name]?
  3. Why should we choose you?
  4. Describe your method of learning.  How does this fit with this graduate school?
  5. What aspects of the [Graduate School Name] program are you most excited about?
  6. What aspects of the [Graduate School Name] program are you most concerned about?
  7. What do you know about our program?
  8. Take us through your personal statement.
  9. What schools did you apply to and why those schools?
  10. What do you look for in a good graduate school?
  11. Why do you want to go to school here?
  12. What sets you apart from other applicants?

Current Issue/Scenario Questions

  1. What is the future of a career in [Insert Major]?
  2. One day, a graduate school classmate gives you a sheet containing questions for an upcoming exam. How would you handle the situation and what issues would you consider important in coming to a decision about what to do?
  3. Name a situation where you had to make an ethical decision.  What did you do?
  4. If you are accepted into two graduate schools of your top choice, what would you do to make up your mind?
  5. Tell me about a time when you witnessed dishonesty and what did you do?
  6. Explain a situation in which you had a conflict and how you resolved it.  What would you do differently? Why?