You’ve decided to apply to graduate school. I’m not going to tell you whether or not it’s a right decision. As people say, to each their own. The only thing that matters is for your decision to be well thought-through, weighed, and justified.
And don’t ever think that a grad school is something bad. While finishing the high school already opens up a lot of opportunities, a graduate school only increases the number of options you can take in future.
Before going to an interview, you should do a bit of research though.
Check the information about colleges and universities available and decide which one you think fits you the best. You should also prepare some questions to ask college interviewer so that your decision to apply for a certain grad school is backed up by facts.
And I’m going to help you.
Here are some questions you should ask before applying to your graduate program.
1. What can make me academically competitive for entering the program?
There are certain requirements that every college and university has for their applicants. So, you need to know whether or not you fulfill them, or is it worth to look for a grad program somewhere else. Requirements usually include GPA score and taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).
2. What abilities and experience should I have to complete the program successfully?
You need to have a clear understanding of what is the program’s goal and intention. There are courses where the whole studying process is based on research, while the others may require certain industry experience. This knowledge can help you understand what your weaknesses are, and whether your strengths are even relevant to the program you want to apply for.
3. Does this program has any weaknesses? If yes, what are they?
Sure, no one will tell you about the weak spots right away. But if you fit all of the requirements the college or university has, you have all the rights to know about any possible shortcomings. Even the smallest details can act as a decisive factor. What can those be? Focus on specific subjects, amount of studying hours, or even future career opportunities.
4. How long does it take to finish the program?
This is probably one of the mandatory questions to ask college interviewer. There can be some information available on how long does the course last. Still, the actual time an average student needs to complete the course may vary. The question that usually goes together with this one is about the cost of the program. After getting the information, you’ll be able to decide if you can afford this program at all regarding money and time spent.
5. What are the employment possibilities after finishing the course?
Speaking about the topic of the future we’ve touched upon earlier, you need to know if this grad program is going to help you to boost your career. And what kind of career support you can expect. Otherwise, there’s almost no point in applying for it, paying tuition fees, and spending your time. If you know that you’ll be fully prepared for work after completing the grad program—then go for it. Asking about how many graduates end up working in their chosen field can also give you the idea about whether or not the program is worth your attention.
6. What financial aid and scholarships are available for the program?
This is another question you don’t want to skip. Especially when deciding if you’ll be able to afford to pay the tuition. The availability of a scholarship can be a real game changer here. Brochures and handouts describing financial plans are good and all, but it’s always better to have a real person explain things to you in simple English.
7. Why can applicants be disqualified?
Knowing the things you should do in order to get into a grad program is great. But you also shouldn’t ignore the things you can’t do in order not to get yourself disqualified. Factors leading to disqualification can include special requirements. For example, you need to have a certain amount of experience in your field of choice, or can’t be a part of a non-profit organization instead of performing academic research. The factors can differ a lot, but being aware of them always gives you a big advantage.
Finally, you can just ask something like “Is there anything else I didn’t ask but should know about?”
Let me explain why this is a good question to ask a college interviewer.
It gives them the opportunity to uncover some of the details about the program you could miss during your research. Therefore, you’ll have the fullest possible picture about what you’re signing up to. Which can make it easier to make a decision. The fact that grad programs vary greatly makes such a question very reasonable and valid. So, don’t hesitate to ask it.