Treat yourself to your favorite lunch after your graduate school interview (maybe In-N-Out or Chipotle?). Pressure builds before these types of interviews and you should take the rest of the day to exhale and enjoy the peace that comes after the anxiety of the interview has lifted.
You might start to replay the interview in your mind. Don’t be hard on yourself when you experience the perspective of hindsight. Instead, remember that your preparation served you well, that you were knowledgeable and charming.
It’s a good idea to send a thank you card to your interviewer. You might be tempted to fire off a quick email expressing gratitude, but your email will end up among many; your thank you card will have less competition for attention. A hard copy card will show that you took the interview and graduate studies seriously—much like you might a job interview. Other students may not go this extra mile, so it could also set you apart. Include a highlight or two from your interview, if you wish, but don’t treat this effort as an opportunity to expand on your application. Keep it short.
You might find that you have unanswered questions after the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask them, as long as they would have been appropriate to ask during the interview. Email your interviewer or contact your program’s department head and explain that you’ve already been interviewed, but you still have one or two questions. It is their job to answer these questions, so don’t be shy. But, if you can manage, gather these questions and ask them all at once, preferably in one email. And do remember to be brief.
If you have other interviews lined up, be sure to keep track of your various appointments. A missed interview could very well be the catalyst that leads to your rejection from a program. It’s not easy to reschedule these appointments and a no-show could give the interviewer the idea that you are sometimes irresponsible with time management. You have heard this a million times before: arrive early to your interview (it can never be stressed enough). Traffic or parking issues are not the interviewer’s problem. Know where you’re going and map the route out ahead of time.
Make note on your calendar when someone from admissions should respond to let you know if you’ve been admitted to your program of choice. Again, if you are applying to several different programs, the wait times can vary by months. Some programs also have rolling admissions, which means you may be notified of your admittance much earlier or later than other schools.
It’s also a good idea to note when these admissions departments expect your response. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s possible that a program could require your answer before you even hear from other schools. Prioritize. Privately rank your top programs based on information you learned during your interviews.
If the notice comes in and you’re waitlisted, don’t despair. Contact the admissions department to ask what you can do to improve your chances of admittance. If you’ve had any recent accomplishments or won any awards, now is the time to pass them along—because it could help.
Next, look into financial aid and what you will need to do to finance your graduate school education. Seek out scholarships and fellowships. If you know you’ll require loans, research the best options for you.
Finally, finish strong. You aren’t done yet, wherever you are: school, employment, a fellowship. Keep learning about the different graduate school programs. There might be nuggets of information you don’t know that could impact your final decision.