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Questions to Ask at an Informational Interview

by Taylor Anderson Tuesday, October 23, 2018

When preparing for an informational interview at a graduate program, it is important to prepare a list of questions to ask the program representative. Instead of giving you a list of questions to ask, here are four categories in order for you to craft your own questions to best fit your needs.

 

  • Questions on different programs within the school and/or different specializations: These might seem like different categories, but they both talk about the same thing – what is the best fit for you? When it comes to different programs, some schools offer different kinds of programs for the same degree. For example, the Wisconsin School of Business offers a Full-Time MBA Program, an Evening MBA Program, and an Executive MBA Program. As for specializations, many programs have areas of study that you must choose between when you apply to the program, such as the Wisconsin Full-Time MBA Program’s ten career specializations. You should research programs and specializations before the meeting, but come with any questions you have about what would be the best fit for you.
  • Questions relating to what concerns you about your own application: If there is something about your application that you feel isn’t up to par, this is the time to bring it up. Ask about how it will impact your application and how you can supplement other aspects that may be stronger. If it is something you are able to change, ask how you can improve. This shows the admissions team that you are willing to put in the effort to make your application the most competitive. This is also a good time to ask about any optional essays that may be in the application, and figure out if you should be writing this essay.
  • Questions about the coursework in the program: Feel free to ask questions about what the coursework will be like in the program. Is there room in the curriculum for electives? Are the elective choices limited? You can also ask about the ratio of “general” classes to classes in your specialization. Is there additional experience you can get through teaching assistantships, internships, research opportunities, etc.? Do students find they are able to have full-time or part-time jobs while enrolled in the program?
  • Questions about culture in and around the program: What better way to learn about the culture of the program and the city than to ask someone who is involved with it on a daily basis? You can ask questions about the expectations of faculty, the cooperative or collaborative culture of student life, what it is like to live in the city where you will be attending school, and anything else you can come up with regarding what life will be like as a student in the program.

This is not an exhaustive list of questions you can ask, but hopefully it will get you off to a good start. Make sure you do some research about the school so you aren’t asking questions that have answers readily available to you on their website. Remember that the admissions representatives are there to answer your questions, so come prepared and ready to learn! To set up an informational interview, please email us.