Interviews

Having an interview is not a requirement for many admission processes. However, they can be an ideal opportunity to highlight characteristics and interests that are easier to convey in person than on paper

Some universities might have an interview opt-in field on their application forms, and some universities will automatically contact you after you apply to see if you are interested in interviewing. For other institutions, you might have to explicitly state you would like to interview.

For programmes such as MBAs, interviews are usually required.

Format

Interviewers are not always faculty members. Sometimes they are are conducted by admissions staff or alumni volunteers.

You might speak over a phone or video call to the USA, or the representative might be in the UK.

Postgraduate admissions interviews are quite similar to UK undergraduate interviews, covering topics such as:

  • What are your academic interests and plans?
  • How did you become interested in your field of study?
  • Why do you want to pursue your degree at this particular university/department?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment/failure?
  • What is the most significant contribution you’ve made?
  • What is your strongest/weakest point?
  • What do you see yourself doing in the future? In five years? In ten years?
  • How will this programme help you fulfil those goals?

Preparation

Like any interview, it is important to practise and be prepared. Ask family, friends or teachers to conduct mock interview with you.

You should become familiar with making well-organised and thoughtful answers, but avoid memorising prepared answers or repeating verbatim points you have made in your application.

You should also prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. These might include:

  • How would you describe the atmosphere of this university/department/programme?
  • What's are some of the most exciting projects you've seen from this programme?
  • Do you have any advice for someone interested in a career in...?
  • Anything you want to know about the programme but haven't found out yet
    • (make sure you have done your research and don't ask something easily answered on the internet)

Additional interview tips

  • If possible, schedule your preferred university's interview last so you build experience with the others
  • Revisit your personal and/or research statements
  • Be confident, genuine and enthusiastic
  • Take notes during the conversation
  • Revise your university research
  • Read up on current events related to your academic and extracurricular areas of interest
  • Send a thank you e-mail or note immediately after each interview