Finally, for all of the questions, follow the rule of three if you can. What is the rule of three?
The rule of three is “a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.”* This applies to both written and verbal communication.
Try to begin noticing the occurrence of this (in this book and elsewhere). You will be surprised at how prevalent it can be. During the interview, use this rule to give your response in three parts wherever possible.
You know what you want.
You know why you want it.
Tell this to yourself before you begin the interview. Walk in with the end in mind.
Mostly, but not always. In a brief survey we put out, 75% of the 200 respondents mentioned that their interviews happened via a video call, while the remaining 25% mentioned it was through a pre-recorded system. We have rarely, if ever, heard of a student who was flown to the U.S. for the interview (if you were, let us know!).
When you are done writing down the responses to all the questions in your master list, practice saying them out loud in front of a mirror as well as with a confidante of yours.
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Do you remember we said you choose the university as much as they choose you? Time to say it again.
You choose the university as much as they choose you.
Even if the interview is pre-recorded, it generally ends with a question that asks you for any questions you might have. Use this opportunity to dive into two or three questions that have been on your mind a lot. Below are some common ones:
What is the biggest strength of this program?
What are the career outcomes for students in this program?
What kind of experiential learning opportunities are offered by the department (e.g., TA, RA, co-op, internships)?
Is the environment more collaborative or competitive?
How easy or difficult is it to customize the program to my area of interest?
Again, the above questions depend on who you’re speaking with and your priorities. If your interview is with a human, don’t forget to send them a thank you note after you finish the interview.