graduate school interview tips + kardea bar review

graduate school interview tips

as you guys know, i’m a graduate student in a nutritional sciences program. this past weekend was our department’s recruitment weekend, so i spent some time interacting with prospective students and helping them to get a feel for our program (in addition to presenting a poster of my research and winning a prize!!! ← can you tell i’m pumped about that?!)

this was actually the 4th recruitment weekend that i’ve participated in. the first was the weekend that i interviewed myself, and i’ve helped in 3 more rounds of recruitment as a current student. i definitely don’t consider myself an expert, but i would say i am a good source to offer tips for students who are interviewing. also, i wrote these tips right after the weekend, so these are the big things that are fresh on my mind!

come prepared. do some background research on the program & read the profiles of the professors’ research. honestly, i would thing this is a no-brainer, but i have been shocked several times about people who don’t seem to know anything about the program.

ask questions. don’t ask any random question just to ask a question, but if you’re legitimately interested in the program, ask questions that show that you’ve done your research! it really does make you appear interested and invested in the weekend.

talk! i understand that some people are shy. i am very shy the first time i meet people. but honestly, not saying a single word all weekend does not help you.

dress appropriately. this should go without saying, but low-cut tops, super short skirts, and extremely tight clothing is not appropriate for an interview weekend. the male graduate students may like it, but they will even agree that you don’t look professional. on the other hand, you don’t need to wear a business suit every day. bring a range of clothing and get a feel of what to wear to different events as the weekend goes on. hint: you can even ask one of the current students what the proper attire for an event would be – we want to help you! 🙂

be yourself. there is so much diversity in my program, it’s actually kind of surprising! people from different countries, religions, with different interests and backgrounds. it’s a good thing. programs want diversity. they don’t want a pack of graduate student clones. just let your personality shine. it will really help you make good connections during the interviews.

if you are interested in the program, say so. one of the things that goes into the ranking of graduate programs is how many students accept their admission offers. in my experience, if you let them know that they are your first choice, you are more likely to get in. students who are actually invited to recruitment weekends have already made the first cut. now the programs want to find out who is actually going to come to the program.

figure out if that program/school is for you. it’s easy to get caught up trying to get everyone to like you and trying to convince them to give you an offer. make sure you find out everything you need to know to decide if the program is a good fit for YOU. graduate school is stressful enough. you don’t want to be stuck in program that’s a bad fit!

◊ and finally, just relax. i know it’s hard to do, but recruitment weekends are actually a lot of fun for the current students, and they can be fun for the interviewees too! we do get to give feedback at the end of the weekend, so if you relax and get to know us, it lets us see the “real” you and that is ALWAYS better than a fake, awkward, uncertain you.

i know some of my readers are applying to graduate programs currently or in the future, so i hope this helped some of you! 🙂 again, i’m not an expert, but this has been my experience with the 4 recruitment weekends i’ve participated in.


kardea wellness bar review

a while ago, kardea nutrition sent me a sample pack of bars to try out and review on the blog. it’s taken me a couple weeks, but i’ve finally tried each flavor!

first, a bit about the company. kardea means ‘heart’ in greek, and the company works to support and promote heart healthy behaviors and awareness. kardea believes that healthy eating is a foundation for long term health and vitality. what’s not to like about that, right?!

as a busy student, i love having bars on hand that are convenient, tasty, and healthy! it’s also important that they have a little oomph, to hold me over to my next meal or refuel after a workout. kardea bars each have 140 calories, 7g of fiber, 7g of protein and they come in 4 flavors: banana nut, cranberry almond, chai spice, and lemon ginger.

lemon ginger was my absolute favorite! i love citrus flavors and the ginger added a surprising spice.

my next favorite was the cranberry almond. it was just a little sweet and nutty. i shared this one with brad and he really liked it too (there’s not much that he doesn’t like though!).

i would say the banana nut and chai spice we equal for 3rd place. neither of them was as flavorful as the other two, but they were still good. i finished all of them! 🙂

overall, i would recommend kardea bars to a friend and i would definitely buy them myself if i saw them in a store!

*disclaimer: i was sent the sample pack of bars to review, but all opinions presented on my blog are my own. i was not compensated in any way for this review.


have you tried kardea bars?

what is your favorite on the go snack?

do you have any questions about applying to graduate school that i didn’t address above?

i’d be glad to answer questions!


About sarah

hi, i'm sarah. i'm a graduate student, dog lover, newlywed, blogger, aspiring baker/cook, and a veggie lover. :)
This entry was posted in ramblings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to graduate school interview tips + kardea bar review

  1. eatspinlive says:

    What a wonderful post with some great tips! I remember how nervous I was to go for an interview with the graduate dean of the school I was hoping to be admitted to! It really went wonderful though and being prepared really helped me so much! 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      yes! i think preparation is so important. while it’s great to talk about your experiences, it’s also so important to know what research is being done in the program your interviewing with – and knowing that will help you make connections from your current work to that research!

  2. I’ve never tried a Kardia bar before! I love your grad school tips! I’m also shocked by how few people do any internet research about programs and professors before coming to visit! Crazy!

    • Sarah says:

      it’s actually a little ridiculous in my opinion. for my program, we receive a list of professors we will be meeting with a week ahead of time. why would you NOT read up on their research and prepare a couple questions to ask?!? it’s such a small thing that really makes a huge difference in an interview!

  3. Such great tips on the grad school stuff! A lot of that doubles for tips on interviewing for jobs as well.

    • Sarah says:

      i agree! i didn’t want to promote it as job tips since i haven’t experienced many job interviews in the recent past. but it definitely makes sense that the same tips would apply!

  4. great tips!! most apply to job interviews too 🙂 i’ve never heard of those bars but they sound good! thinking about trying some

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