By Ryan Hartman
I am telling you something you already know, but interviews are stressful. However, I urge you to try and enjoy that time in your life. You get to travel (hopefully) to different states and schools and take in all it has to offer.
The one thing I reminded myself throughout interview season was that they want you. These schools obviously want you in their program as they extended an invitation to you to be a part of their program. Now you get to go blow them away with your individual story and experience.
I enjoyed the traveling, and I liked meeting so many new people who had interests that lined up with mine. I think you get the most out of it if you focus on the positives like that. In my experience at interviews, everyone who interviewed was very nice and cordial, and if I was worried, I realized that I should not have been. I was worked up for no reason in a lot of cases.
As far as tips go though there are a few I would offer as a general rule.
- The first one is to find a little bit out about the school. It is important to know something or a lot about the school that you will be interviewing at. You will impress the interviewers if you have done some background research. And a lot of them will ask you what makes you want to be a part of the (insert school name here) community. I would also give that same advice about the people who will be interviewing you. Find something out about them as well. It could be as simple as their research or more in depth. They will appreciate you knowing about them.
- I would also say to do some self-reflection about yourself. Know who you are. Reread your personal statement and resume and know them well because that is what your interviewers are going off of. I also made a point to wear the colors of the school I was interviewing at, but that was simply personal preference.
- Make sure to also make connections with the other people who you are interviewing with. They are going to potentially be in your cohort. Even if they aren’t going to be in your cohort, they likely will be a part of the profession you are going into in the future. It also calms the nerves to know that you aren’t alone.
- Finally, I would say know what separates you from the pack and focus on that. There is certainly something unique about the person you are, and you should play that up and show that off. Interviews area a tough time, but when I look back on that experience for me, I had a blast in the end. I think you will too. Relax and enjoy the free food.