Are you in the process of or thinking about applying to graduate school programs for counseling or clinical psychology? The application process can be overwhelming from taking the GRE to getting research experience to writing your personal statement, but once you’ve submitted everything there is still one more hurdle you’ve got to overcome, the interview! Here are some questions that you can expect and ways to prepare yourself for those questions!
Why are you interested in attending this particular program?
Every program that you applied to wants to know why you chose them! More than likely there are numerous different programs that you could have applied to that met your specific needs, in terms of research or clinical interests.
Make sure to research the program you are interested in and note rankings or reviews that you see online. You want to make sure that you have a good understanding of how this program differs from other programs for clinical or counseling psychology like specific coursework, length of the program, internship opportunities, research focus, and specific faculty.
- Which faculty member(s) are you most interested in working with?
- What attracts you to our model (Boulder or Vail) of training?
Tell me about an experience when…
Ah, the dreaded behavioral questions. Behavior questions are when the interviewer asks about a specific scenario you’ve experienced in order to understand how you would react in a similar situation in their program. You can definitely anticipate these types of questions so it’s important to prepare.
To get ready for behavioral questions you have to reflect upon your own experiences, related to clinical work or not. If you are just graduating you may not have a lot of real-world experience, but think about how your experiences relate to the clinical environment through transferable skills. For example, if you tutor elementary school students, you can relate this experience to therapy because you have to use your interpersonal and communication skills to connect with your students similar to how you would connect with a client in a clinical setting.
- Describe an ethical dilemma you experienced with a client and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a time you’ve helped someone through a difficult situation.
What can you bring to our program?
There are many ways this question can be phrased, but when answering a question you need to think about what the interviewer is trying to learn from asking this question. In this case, they want to know about your strengths!
Talking about your strengths can be difficult, as it can be uncomfortable to talk about how amazing you are. The important thing to remember is that it may feel like bragging, but it is not! You are just selling yourself to this program and convincing them that you are a perfect addition to this program. When preparing, think about your experiences and what skills you’ve developed during them. Always use transferable skills like communication, organization, and teamwork, not vague personality traits like hard-working or dedicated. When deciding on what strengths you want to mention in the interview, think about what skill is most important to success in this program. This will help you show the interviewer that you are meant to be enrolled in this program.
- How has your undergraduate experience prepared you for this program?
- What qualifications do you have that would make you a good counseling psychologist?
Now that you have a sense of the questions you may be asked during your interview, now is the perfect time to practice your responses. Schedule a practice interview with the Center for Career Development today!