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Stories | 02.21.18

Becoming a Social Change Agent: Top 5 Tips for Your Graduate Admission Interview Day

Under the thoughtful guidance of our admissions counselors, hopeful Adler University students embark on a journey that includes informational sessions, email exchanges, applications, phone calls and more. Among the most critical aspects of the screening process to select our future socially responsible practitioners – and one of the final steps – is interview day.

But, what is interview day? And what should you expect?

The day offers applicants the opportunity to visit campus and meet with current students, financial aid faculty members, and other key players who can serve as resources. On interview day, we see to it that all of our prospective students’ questions are answered. But we ask our own questions, too. Each applicant participates in an hour-long interview with a core faculty member from the program to which he or she is applying.

Sound intimidating? It shouldn’t. As applicants learn, Adler University is a unique graduate school focused on preparing students to become socially responsible practitioners, engage communities and advance social justice. We are looking for future change agents; those interested in Alfred Adler’s revolutionary community psychology approach to creating a more just society. Our process is thoughtful because we want our students to be a perfect fit just like they want to find their ideal graduate school match.

All that said, how do you prepare? We sat down with Domini Velissaris, senior admissions counselor in Chicago, who offered the below tips to get ready for a successful interview day.

1. Treat the admission interview like a job interview.

“Once you start graduate school, training to become a practitioner in your chosen field is your job for the next several years,” Velissaris says. “To get the job, it’s important you make a positive, professional impression.”

This includes wearing professional workplace attire and arriving on time — not late or too early. It also means being ready to answer and ask educated questions. Be sure to review the Adler University web site, admission materials and all other information you’ve received.

2. Know the ins and outs of the program you’re applying to.

“When a faculty member is interviewing you, you should be able to articulate and ask questions about the specific program you are interested in,” Velissaris said. “Talking about our Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, for example, suggests that you aren’t serious about attending, or you haven’t done your homework to know that Adler University offers a Psy.D. program, not a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.”

Again, adler.edu is your best source for information about our specific programs and offerings.

3. Do your homework — on yourself.

Besides being prepared to talk about your program of interest, it’s important to talk about yourself.

“Have an understanding of yourself,” Velissaris says. “Be ready to thoughtfully articulate how you arrived at this place in your life, and why graduate school is the next step for you. Why do you want to pursue advocacy or public policy, or become a counselor or a psychologist? Why do you want to receive your training at Adler University?”

4. Listen.

Interview Day is your opportunity to learn a great deal about your potential program, faculty members, the university’s culture, student resources, financial aid, and final steps toward admission.

“Listen to everyone with whom you interact,” Velissaris says. “Your interview day is carefully scheduled and it’s a busy day. It’s important to listen and take in information at each and every step.”

5. Interview us.

At first glance, many schools offer what may seem like very similar academic programs. However, programs — as well as campus environments, student life, professional support, training opportunities, practicum offerings and more — vary greatly from school to school.

At Adler University, those who have completed the admission process reflect on interview day as, “more of a conversation than anything else,” and with good reason: The point is for you to get to know the school and for us to get to know you. After all, we are both seeking an ideal match.

Velissaris encourages applicants to ask questions of each student, staff and faculty member they meet.

“Make sure you take that time to make sure the university is a good fit,” she says. “You will invest a lot of time and money in graduate school. You want to find a place that will align with your needs and career goals.”

What else do current students say about interview day? “Relax and be yourself.”

One prospective Adler University student who was busy preparing for her interview day posed a question on Facebook asking for advice from those who have gone through it.

“My best advice is to be prepared to talk about your background and why Adler’s mission of social justice and community psychology fits in with your academic and professional goals,” one respondent said. “So it’d be a good idea to read through the faculty profiles, the magazines, etc. My interviewers were extremely nice and everything was very relaxed. We even had a couple laughs. In fact, it was more like a regular conversation.”

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