Psychology Graduate School Interview Questions
1. What made you apply here?
They are trying to assess fit, as they will be potentially working with you for the next five years. Answer truthfully, but make sure to highlight your strengths and the qualities that make you a desirable candidate.
2. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
This at first seems like a high-stress question. However, they want to know that you are growth-minded and have taken time to self-reflect (you are applying to psychology after all). You don’t want to give a BS answer for your weakness, but you might put yourself in a better light by outlining your plan to work on your weakness and the steps you have taken so far to address it. Steer clear from overly personal issues like illness, hardship, or substance abuse.
3. What are your hobbies?
They basically want to make sure that you aren’t some workaholic who will alienate everyone and burn out in your second year. Steer clear from anything sketchy or weird here.
4. Can you tell me about your research?
Definitely a good idea to brush up on the work you have done so far and how it relates to the work being done at that school. Be prepared to defend or at least give an intelligible answer for the methodology and statistical procedures that you have used.
Stress questions in psychology graduate school interviews are designed to see how you respond to stress. For example, when the interviewer asks you how many quarters you would have to stack to be as high as the Empire State building, they aren’t specifically assessing your quantitative skills (they already know this from the GRE). Instead, they want to see that you can reason under pressure. They might ask you all kinds of crazy questions to do this. Just be cool, smile to yourself, and be glad you’ve already prepared for it.
Sometimes interviewers ask an inappropriate question for whatever reason that involves something that is overly personal. In these situations it is completely appropriate to say that you’re not comfortable answering the question. Do this politely though: something along the lines of, “We just met and I’d love to get to know you better, but right now I’m not comfortable answering that.” It’s called setting boundaries and people in this field should be able to respect that. Whatever the reason for them asking the question is their issue, not yours. I heard of a male student being asked something along the lines of, “given that there are a lot of females in this program, how do you think that will affect your dating life?” Not only was the question inappropriate, but the interviewer was making assumptions (the interviewee was actually interested in men). If you encounter a question like that, ask for more time to think about it, or if you’re quick on your feet come up with something like, “I try to keep my personal and professional life separate, so I won’t be looking for anything romantic within the department”. If there is a pattern of inappropriate/uncomfortable questions, then ask yourself is this really a place you want to attend?