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Research Career Development - Interviewing for Graduate School Gail P. Taylor Fall 2012 11/05/2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Career Development - Interviewing for Graduate School Gail P. Taylor Fall 2012 11/05/2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Career Development - Interviewing for Graduate School Gail P. Taylor Fall /05/2012

2 ► ► Beyond the Beakers: SMART Advice for Entering Graduate Programs in the Sciences and Engineering. Gayle R. Slaughter, Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine/National Science Foundation ► Survival Skills and Ethics Program:   Beth Fischer   Michael Zigmond   ► The Leadership Alliance – Graduate School Guide ide.pdf ide.pdf Tips on Preparing for and Applying to Graduate School ► ► Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond (1996). Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Acknowledgements:

3 References ► Beyond the Beakers: SMART Advice for Entering Graduate Programs in the Sciences and Engineering. Gayle R. Slaughter, Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine/National Science Foundation. 2005

4 What leads to Grad School Interview? ► Committee assesses application ► (Good schools generally interview) ► A person is more than what’s on paper… ► Student brought to campus  Usually paid by school, but not always ► Individual or group  Sometimes only a phone interview ► Meets various people ► Decision made

5 Why Interview a Grad Student? ► Cost of education (~250K to educate a Ph.D.) ► Insure compatibility ► Check attitude ► Check preparation ► Desire an interview, even if you were in a summer program there ► Weather/living conditions

6 What they Want to Know: ► Intellectual ability ► Critical thinking ► Written Expression ► Oral Expression ► Emotional maturity ► Imagination and creativity ► Potential as teacher (TA) ► Motivation for GS ► Standing as student researcher in dept

7 Purpose of Interview ► Get the “real you”  Brings application to life ► Looking for fit ► Confirms what was written

8 What an Interview means ► Either school is filthy rich, or you’re a true contender

9 Process ► Depends on school ► They contact ► Usually, they pay upfront  You may be reimbursed – always save receipts ► They set up itinerary (who you meet with)  Ask for beforehand, if possible!

10 Itineraries Vary ► Can come as group or individual ► Meet with various people  Faculty from Personal statement  Students ► In big group – Meet with Dean or Dept Chair ► Meet with Faculty ► Lunch of some sort…maybe even interview ► Meet with students ► Dinner (keep on toes)

11 Before Going ► Reread all materials that you provided  They will be the foundation for questions ► Practice standard questions ► Make cheat sheet about school ► Read about researchers on itinerary! ► Look at papers and websites  Researchers you mentioned in statement  Other Interviewers on itinerary  Can request change in interviewer, if you had pre- existing problem

12 Before Going II ► Prepare fluent statement about research ► Ask for Mock interview from local mentor/program staff ► Fly cheaply and don’t mess with arrangements ► Send any information updates (pubs, etc) ► Clothing:  Borrow or buy nice dark suit ► Unless coordinator of visit says not to  Neat, comfortable, professional  Broken-in shoes

13 While there ► You are interviewing the ENTIRE time you are there  Be professional ► Avoid profanity ► Rudeness  Be personable ► Attend parties ► Accompany Grad Students  Don’t party too hard…

14 Specific Hints I ► Don’t interrupt during questions ► Make interviewer comfortable  Mirror their handshake  Sit after them  Mirror their posture  Let them set speed  DON’T EXHAUST THEM! Be calm. ► Try to answer to the length required ► Make sure to emphasize strengths and experience! ► Meet interviewers eyes (focus on them) ► “I don’t know” is okay (indicate where you could find out ► Talk about your research  Show enthusiasm  Show commitment (time in lab) ► Speak with interest about interviewers’ research

15 Specific Hints II ► Look relaxed while answering, but keep good posture ► Be friendly and open, upbeat and positive ► Be prepared to talk about the school at which you are interviewing ► Don’t get defensive ► Use professional adult language –  Avoid gonna, kinda, you know, Like, uhhhh…., sorta,  If you use big words, know that you are using correctly

16 Personal Information ► Should not ask you about marital status, illness, parenthood unless you mentioned in statement ► Honesty is best policy…they will know about accommodating from beginning ► If are inappropriate (race, gender), speak to program director

17 Overcoming Shyness ► Many scientists are shy ► Can still communicate  Toastmasters?  Be as prepared as possible ► Review Strengths with trusted mentor/faculty ► Practice beforehand ► Cheat sheets (comfort sheets) ► Don’t freak at hard questions (some will push intentionally)

18 Sample Questions ► Tell me about your previous research experience ► Why do you want to go to graduate school? ► Why do you need a Ph.D.? ► What are your long term goals? ► Where do you want to be in 10 years? ► Why do you think that you’ll be successful in your chosen career? ► What experiences prepared you for graduate school? ► Why are you interested in our program? ► What projects attract you for dissertation research? ► What are your strengths? ► What areas do you need to strengthen? ► How do you deal with people who are different from you? ► What do you think will be hard about graduate school? ► What have you not told me, that you want to be sure I know? ► What questions do you have about our program? (have some)

19 ACTIVITY! ► Ask one another some of these sample questions, in class! Let the Interviews begin!


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