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4 Tips for Cracking Interviews at Top Universities


Being accepted by one of the best postgraduate universities is a dream shared by thousands of students each year, but only a handful of them make it. Unfortunately, dreams are crushed year on year. You’ll need to have good grades of course – generally the best universities only take top students, but sometimes even a qualifying student might not make it through because of a bad interview. Here  are four tips that might just help you overcome some odds while appearing for an interview at one or more of the world’s best postgraduate universities.

Understand What the University Wants from You

There was a recent post on Uni Compare titled, What Do Universities Look for in a Postgraduate? As the post rightly points out, the interviewing faculty members will be trying to decide if the candidate has a specific career goal in mind or not. Are they just applying for a postgrad program because they are not sure what they want to do for a career? Or is it because they fully understand what they are doing and truly believe that the course is the best choice to advance their chosen career.

Check the post out for other helpful pointers, and check Uni Compare for tips on what postgraduate universities want from their applicants. The article is based on their vast experience in comparing hundreds of thousands of degree courses from various top universities in the UK and abroad.

Spend Time on, and Review Your Resume and Motivation Letter

This is likely one of the last things that most applicants do, although it should be one of the first. Not only should you allocate significant time and attention to creating a successful CV and motivation letter, you also need to go through the documents thoroughly before appearing for the interview. The second part is often overlooked, which can result in significant mistakes.

In interview, faculty members tend to base their questions on a candidate’s resume and motivation letter. It’s a simple attempt to see how genuine they were while writing down what they did. If you fail to answer questions that are related to what you have written in either of the two documents, that can cost you a chance to be admitted to the university of your choice. Keep this in mind while putting together your resume and motivation letter as well; make sure you can answer any possible questions related to them.

Do Your Homework; Research the University

Do your research on the university you are applying for, find out as much as possible about it. Most of the top universities have been around for a while, and have a rich legacy. The faculty are likely very proud of the university’s heritage, and of the academic performance/achievements of their key staff and students. Therefore, it is almost certain that one or more of the questions will have something to do with the university’s past, present or even future.

The advantage that you will have as an applicant here is that given the status of the university you are applying for, the necessary information should not be too difficult to find online. Read up on what you think is important, or at least brush over the most relevant topics, especially if it has anything to do with the course that you have applied for. Sounding knowledgeable about the institution you are applying for will show that you are genuinely interested in the course and the university.

Practice Interviews are Important for Building Confidence

The rest of the questions will likely be centred around your field of specialisation, but that’s something that only you alone can prepare for. After knowledge and awareness, confidence is the next most important aspect, and that daoesn’t come very easily when you are appearing in front of highly educated, veteran professors who have likely taught what you are about to study to hundreds of famous people around the world! This is why you need to prepare with practice interviews.

Learn how to practice for interviews on YouTube or do mock interviews with a graduate from the same institution (if you are lucky enough to know one) or anyone you know who has gone through the process of applying to a top university.

Top academic grades will get you to the interview, these tips will help you from there. Good luck!

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