Fellowship Interviews

Finalists for prestigious fellowships face a panel of experts from a variety of fields. Interviewers may ask questions related to your field of study, pose dilemmas that invite philosophical speculation or reflective thinking, or ask about current events. Interview panels ask challenging questions that impel you to think "on your feet." If you are lucky enough to become a finalist, you should prepare for a broad-ranging interview, and expect to be asked questions to which you do not know the answers.  

Interviews often begin with a "softball" question that arises from your personal statement. Such an approach enables you to talk about an area that you know well and become comfortable. This doesn't come naturally to everyone, however. Sometimes even a vague question -- "Tell us about yourself." -- might throw an otherwise prepared candidate off-balance.

The interviewers soon ratchet up the level of difficulty and may include off-the-wall or random lines of questioning. The point is less to get at your knowledge than to see how you think. Some candidates are surprised that the interview may feel more like an oral exam than a genteel conversation, or that selection committee members might play good cop/bad cop routines.

Some comments based on Rhodes and Marshall interviews:

Although most interviews follow these conventions in format, they are unpredictable because each panel of interviewers will pursue very different lines of inquiry.

WPI's nominees for prestigious fellowships will be given experience in these interviews on campus as part of the selection process or as preparation for the formal interviews in the national competitions.

Some related resources:


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Last modified: Aug 27, 2014, 15:17 EDT
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