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Visits & Interviews
Strategy and Questions for Professor Interviews
The purpose of interviewing with a professor who teaches
in the department of your major is twofold: (1) for you to ask
questions and become more informed about the department and (2) for you
to create an advocate for your admission to that college.
Collect information about the department. Go to the department’s
home page and conduct research about the faculty, department course specialties
and emphases, number of students studying in that department, ongoing
student research projects, etc. The more informed you are, the
more specific and informative the questions you ask the professor will
be. Try to better understand the direction, strengths and weaknesses
of the department.
Appropriate questions to ask the professor include:
- Are department professors available for consultation?
- Are research opportunities available for undergraduate students?
- Are there special requirements for students that major in this
- As a freshman, will I be able to take a class in my major?
- What is the atmosphere in the department? Are students
helpful to one another or is it very competitive among students?
- Do professors grade exams on the standard scale or on the curve?
- Do students receive prompt feedback on academic performance?
- Are labs and lectures taught mostly by professors or by teaching
- Are internships available?
- What percentage of students in this department graduate in 4
Create an advocate for your admittance to college.
From you completed research about the department, you should try to demonstrate
you knowledge of a few items. Sharing knowledge about the professor’s
department demonstrates great initiative and seriousness on your part.
Also, read the professor’s résumé if it is posted
online. Know if the professor has certain courses or labs he/she
teaches and if he/she has a research specialty. You’ll leave
a lasting impression if you share some facts.
Remember, be prepared for interviews. Demonstrate the appropriate
manners and etiquette and follow the guidelines in the Do’s and Don’ts sections. Be
confident, poised, and well spoken.