Most competitive fellowships require at least one interview as part of the selection process. Below are some basic tips for preparation before and best practices during the interview. Be sure to also consult with your advisor for fellowship-specific advice.
What Can You Expect in the Interview?
No two interviews are alike. Still you can expect a significant number of probing questions about your primary application materials.
What Can You do to Prepare for the Interview?
Preparation and practice reduce anxiety and increase the odds of success.
- Reread your application. Know your essay, activities, transcript, and academic plan of study thoroughly. Your interviewers will.
- Be very familiar with the origin and intent of the award and know how you fit in with its goals.
- Develop an overarching strategy: define the things about yourself you would like to highlight and topics you would like to explore.
- Catch up on current events and think too about what you read for pleasure.
- Practice! Ask faculty to give you a mock interview. Or brainstorm a list of potential questions and ask your roommate to “interview” you. Tape record or video the discussion so that you can listen to yourself later.
Making a Good Impression During the Interview
Maintain a sense of humor. The fact that you are there for the interview is proof that the committee thinks highly of you. Share your thoughts, energy, and enthusiasm with your interviewers. Body language is important—as much for you as for the interviewers.
- Dress formally. (Suit and ties for men and equivalent for women)
- Smile and look each interviewer in the eye.
- Sit tall.
- Take your time and *listen* carefully to every question.
- Be honest and straightforward.
- Take pride in your accomplishments.
- Share your convictions, but do not make assumptions about the views and opinions of your interviewers.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or to ask for clarification.