Knees shaking. Palms sweating. You’re currently sitting outside waiting for the interview which will determine whether you get accepted on your postgraduate course or not. Nervous? Don’t be. Well, try not to be anyway.
Here are some tips to calm your nerves and make sure you get the place on the course that we know you deserve.
Trying to stay calm in the moments immediately before the interview is the best thing you can do. It might be easier to say than to do, but if you steady yourself before you go for interview you’ll automatically feel better.
Before you go into the room, take a deep breath, stretch, wiggle your toes. Once you have a clear mind before you go in, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from showing the interviewers your best self when you step inside.
Do Some Subject Prep
Make sure you know what you are talking about when you do go in there.
Cian Tolan, a second year student studying an Education Masters degree at Galway’s National University of Ireland campus, recommends thorough research of your chosen field of study before going in for the interview.
"Have some really good and insightful questions prepared - not just asking about the hours you’ll be in classrooms - to show you have an interest in developing your career."
He also recommended knowing what skills would be needed and useful for both your degree and for the career that will follow from it. Apply these skills and qualities to your experience so far, and the opportunities you hope to get out of it. "Use a good balance of academic vocabulary and communication skills when speaking with your interviewers," Cian adds.
Have at least three questions ready to ask. This will save you any embarrassment if your only question has already been answered in a group session or by the interviewer earlier on in your interview. It will also show your keen interest in the area if you get to ask all your questions.
Take a Portfolio
Liam Turner, a Magazine Journalism student at Cardiff University, recommends having a portfolio of your work ready, especially if you’re applying to study a media-centred degree.
"Bring your thesis along if it’s based on something related to your new course,” he says. “It could be a really strong talking point in your interview, as you’re bound to know what it’s about."
Dress the Part
One of the key things you can do is dress appropriately for the interview. Treat it just as you would a job interview - meaning jeans, a T shirt and your favourite converses won’t work in your favour this time.
But remember there’s a very thin line between being underdressed and overdressed. A sparkly outfit may be perfect for celebrating your place on the course, but you might want to leave it until after the interview altogether. Simple and understated is the order of the day here, and it can go a long way.
If you go in looking smart, clean, comfortable and professional, you will definitely make a good first impression.
The last piece of advice, and probably the most important, is to just be yourself.
Bring a little of your natural humour to the interview , you don’t have to sit there completely rigid. Take time to process each question too, it’s perfectly ok to pause and think about a question before answering it.
Just go in with a big smile - no matter how nervous you feel - and you’ll be all set to join your new classmates in September.
Next Step: Prepare for Interview Questions
Receive regular newsletters packed with useful tips.
A Postgraduate Diploma (also known as a PGDip) is a postgraduate qualification offered...
A PhD is both financially draining and incredibly challenging. ...
Torn between studying a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) or a master’s degree?...