Common interview questions

Acing the PsyD Interview: The 3-P Plan
  • How do I prepare?
  • How do I handle interview questions?
  • Which of my experiences should I mention?
  • How do I highlight my strengths?
  • What questions, if any, should I ask?
  • And, maybe most important, how do I manage my nervousness when so much is “on the line”?

How to Crush the PsyD Interview: Tips from a Psychologist

psyd interview questions

Yes, I was interviewed for each program that I was accepted to. The interviews are typically 4-7 hours. There is usually a program overview, q&a session, interviews with faculty members, interviews with students or time to ask them questions, and a campus tour. Questions are pretty typical of any job interview… (why are you interested in this program, what are your experiences, etc.)

My success is probably just a combination of a lot of things… having a pretty high GPA, being involved on and off campus, some clinical experience, research experience. And also having help in preparing for interviews and with my personal statements. Also having good people to write you letters of recommendation is really important (strong letters and also people you can count on to submit the letters on time).

My best advice is to start as early as possible and really be as organized as you can. I wanted to give myself ample time to apply because I knew that I would also be juggling classes at UCSD, extracurriculars, etc. I had multiple spreadsheets to stay organized as well. Find what works for you and be consistent about it so that all the information is clear because there is a lot of info to be aware of.

Applying to graduate school involves first deciding on the type(s) of programs youd like to be a part of. Then, coming up with a realistic list of schools to apply to. Then figuring out when the applications open and the deadlines. Requesting letters of recommendation from professors or mentors. Writing personal statements/letters of intent. Then, once you receive interview invitations, preparing for those and attending them.

I started researching schools during my junior year to see what the prerequisite classes were for various programs and to ensure that I would be able to take them if I hadnt already. I began my actual application process in late summer/early fall 2017. It began by finding out when the applications opened and the deadlines for each. During late summer I also contacted my recommenders to see if they would be willing to write me letters of recommendation. I then began my personal statements once the applications opened until I was finished with them/the deadlines. I finished with my applications at the end of fall 2017. I started getting invited to interviews in Winter 2018 and went to the interviews that quarter as well. Also, of course taking the GRE in advance. I took it once in January 2017 and again in July 2017.

psyd interview questions

What are they looking for? Self-awareness. What will you bring to the cohort and what will you need to work on? They may also have your reference letters in mind and major discrepancies can be a red flag (don’t say you’re punctual if all of your references mention that you’re always late). Have 2 or 3 strengths and 2 or 3 weaknesses.

What are they looking for? Specific goals. Why did you apply to this specific program vs. any of the other programs in the country. They want to see that you’ve done your homework. It is perfectly acceptable to name drop if you met a student/alum/professor that got you interested. But they shouldn’t be the only reason you applied.

What are they looking for? How will your dissertation fit into the program. Most PsyD programs don’t do a lot of extra research, but everyone has to do a dissertation. Do you already have an idea of what you want to do? Obviously, this answer isn’t set in stone, but hopefully you should be aware of some of the major trends in psych research. This can also be a good time to name drop if a professor is already working on research you’re interested in. Have 2 to 3 topics of possible interest.

What are they looking for? Your attitude toward change. Grad school is all about shaping you into a better clinician. You’ll have official evaluations every semester, and you’ll get feedback with every paper and every client. How are you going to handle it? Have specific examples of a time when you got feedback from a teacher, supervisor, etc.

What are they looking for? Experience (duh?). This is pretty easy if you’ve worked in a clinic already. It’s a daunting question if you have no clinical experience whatsoever (as I did when I applied to grad school). But, there are lots of experiences that can translate to clinical work. Talk about any volunteer work with people, a teacher/tutor, camp counselor, etc.

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