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Prepare for the Interview Process

The nature of the interview, required by certain scholarships, is to enable candidates to reveal their communication skills, breadth (and limits) of knowledge, analytical abilities, thinking processes, and presence of mind.  Candidates are frequently asked to defend their opinions and priorities.  Interviewers want to see how you respond to challenges and pressures.  They want to test your ability to apply your studies, interests, and experiences in broader contexts.

  1. Be up on current events and issues.  Have an opinion that you can support with specifics.

  2. Review your application and materials in the courses you have taken so you can answer probing follow-up questions.

  3. Keep your answers succinct and to the point.  Answer the question asked.  Use pertinent examples when they can clarify or give depth to your answer.

  4. Don’t wade into uncharted territory.  If you don’t know much about stem-cell research or counter-jihad, for example, don’t launch into a discussion.  Interviewers can usually tell if you’re “faking it.”  Steer the conversation to topics that you know well.

  5. Do not give an answer you think the interviewers want to hear that is not honest.  Again, they can usually tell if you’re “faking it.”

  6. Don’t get flustered when you are unable to answer a question satisfactorily.  Remember: part of the interview is to determine how you will respond to challenging, even uncomfortable, situations.  Acknowledge your limits and express your interest in learning more.

  7. Always be professional and courteous, not contentious.  Show your convictions but don’t alienate with stubbornness.

The Office of Fellowship Advising organizes practice or “mock” interviews for all LSU candidates.  These are excellent opportunities to test your interviewing skills and get feedback from faculty and administrators.  The practice interviews can be videotaped so you can review your performance.