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13 Ways to Respond to an Interview Request for Grad School

13 Ways to Respond to an Interview Request for Grad School

The process of deciding to continue your studies after college is a big one and can take many different forms.

Perhaps you’ve always known you wanted to do a master’s in History or pursue an MBA. 

Or maybe you took some time away from academia to work and realized you missed it too much and wanted to re-enter the scholarly world.

Whatever your reasons, you are surely not alone in finding the grad school application process a difficult, drawn-out, and confusing affair. 

The most important thing to remember when you reach a difficult point in the process, is to keep your cool.

If other people can do it, so can you! And there are so many handy guides out there (like this one!) that will help you figure out exactly what you need to do at each stage of the journey. 

If you’ve just received an offer to interview at a grad school, congratulations! Now follow this step-by-step guide to responding to an interview invitation for grad school. 

 

How to respond to an interview request for grad school 

  1. Respond promptly, no later than within two business days.
  2. Formally greet the sender.
  3. Express appreciation for the opportunity.
  4. Accept the offer of an interview. 
  5. Answer any outstanding questions. 
  6. Confirm the logistics or make a counterproposal.
  7. Sign off with an appropriate valediction and your full name. 

 

As with any formal email, it is crucially important to greet the sender politely. Use their preferred salutation, whether that be Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., or Professor. 

The second thing you need to do is let the person offering you an interview know that you appreciate the chance to be interviewed for a place on the program. 

Next, accept the offer of the interview by letting the person you’re communicating with know you would be glad to meet for an interview. 

If the person from the admissions committee asks you further questions in the email, don’t forget to answer these!

It would only be natural to be so excited by the opening line that you don’t give the remainder of the message your full attention.

So be extra careful not to leave anyone on the admissions committee hanging before you even meet them. 

Finally, accept the terms of the interview, including date, time, and location (or platform if it is online).

If you can’t make the proposed time, suggest another time. 

 

How to respond to an invitation to interview for an MBA 

The good news is that if you’ve received an offer of an interview for an MBA program it is because you have submitted an excellent application and the admissions committee is already impressed. 

The slightly scary news is that now you must prove yourself in person. Before you even get to that stage though, you have another opportunity to make a favorable impression, namely by writing a stellar email accepting the interview. 

MBA programs have a more corporate vibe than say a master’s in philosophy, so it is good to be aware of the language and tone used in MBA programs so that you can emulate it.

Here are a few examples of how you could respond to an interview request from an MBA program.  

Once you’ve accepted the interview, you can begin preparing for your MBA interview

Pro tip: After you have you interview, make sure you follow up with an interview thank you email. This will show your sincere interest in the MBA program at the relevant university and will certainly gain you points towards being accepted. All you really need to say is that it was a pleasure speaking to them and that you are highly interested in the program. 

 

1. Dear Dr. Waters, Many thanks for the offer to interview for a place in the Harrison University MBA cohort commencing its studies in September 2023. I am available for to attend an interview in Bishop’s Building on the HU campus at 2pm on Monday, January 12th. I look forward to meeting you! Kind regards, Joel Knecht

This is a standard sample email response to an invitation to attend an interview for grad school. It addresses all the necessary points and is polite and formal in tone. 

If in doubt about your own draft email, this formulation can be applied to almost any degree program and university. 

Whether your motivation for returning to school is to improve the course of study section on job applications or has to do with real passion for the world of business and finance, there is no need to get into it at this stage. 

For the most part, you should keep your email accepting the interview to formalities and the logistics of the interview. 

 

2. Dear Professor Chamberlain, Thank you for your email and for the invitation to interview for the MBA program at Kirlane University. The suggested place and time work well, and I look forward to meeting you and hearing more about the program. Kind regards, Trisha Ho

This is another versatile sample response for an invitation to interview for grad school. 

It follows all the necessary steps. First, it uses the appropriate greeting and salutation, thanks the sender for the email and the invitation to interview, and names the program and university. 

Second, it confirms the logistics of the interview and ends by expressing excitement about it. 

Third, it ends with an appropriate valediction and the applicant’s full name. 

 

3. Dear Dr. Hahnville, Thank for you for email and for requesting my attendance of a Zoom interview at 3pm on Monday, 6th of June. I will gladly attend. The MBA at The Houston College of Business and Management has long been my first choice, so I very much look forward to discussing the program in greater detail with you on Monday. Kind regards, Alana Hussey

Just because business schools foster formal communication doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to show individual expression or advocate yourself. In fact, you’ll probably score points for standing out if you go above and beyond the standard email format. 

In this example, the grad school applicant mentions that that MBA program in question has long been her first choice. There is nothing inappropriate about this. It shows commitment and sincere interest. If you are responding to an email from your first-choice grad school, why not use this line? 

 

4. Dear Dr. Yeo, I am glad to hear that you were impressed by my application. Thank you for the invitation to interview for a place in the 2024 MBA cohort at Jackson University. May 7th at 2pm on Zoom works perfectly for me. I look forward to seeing you then! Kind regards, Harrison Neu

This response acknowledges a complimentary comment about the sender’s application made by the person on the admissions committee they are corresponding with.

If the person who invites you attend an interview says something positive about your application, this should not go unremarked upon in your response.

Thank them for words or let them know you are glad to hear they were impressed. There is not just one way to respond to a compliment, so be authentic and respond how you normally would when someone says something nice about you in a formal setting.

While it may sound a little informal, it is perfectly acceptable to say “I look forward to seeing you” in business correspondence

One thing this sample email discusses is the possibility of a grad school interview being conducted over Zoom.

If you find yourself in this position, it is essential to make sure you have a professional Zoom username! Nothing would be worse than jumping into a Zoom only to realize that your name is listed as “smudgybear22”. 

Also, make sure any funny filters you might have applied when chatting with your friends have been removed before the start of the interview. No one wants to accept a cat into their MBA program!

 

5. Dear Professor Muhammed, Many thanks for your kind notes on my application to the Richardson University MBA program. Thanks also for the invitation to interview and the opportunity to discuss the program in person. I gladly confirm my attendance at the Chrysler Building at 5pm on Tuesday, April 6th.  I look forward to meeting you! Kind regards, Henry Breitling

This sample response offers another way to thank someone for positive application feedback. 

It names the university and program in question, and thanks the admissions committee member for the opportunity to discuss the program. 

Then it confirms attendance and repeats the details of the interview to avoid any miscommunication. 

Finally, it ends with a polite expression of excitement.

 

How to respond to an invitation to interview for grad school: The humanities 

The humanities are the least strict when it comes to formal email communication––and probably many other things too! Perhaps because many academic fields within the arts involve the study of eccentrics, there is less of a requirement for formality than in business studies or the sciences. 

That said, there are still certain conventions that should be abided by––unless of course, you are an aspiring eccentric yourself, in which case, go forth and prosper!

However, for those of us who prefer to keep things a little more lowkey, here are a few helpful examples of how you might reply to an invitation to interview for a grad school humanities degree. 

 

6. Dear Dr. Hausmann, Many thanks for the invitation to interview for the master’s program in Irish Gaelic literature at The Urban Language University. I have been interested in your graduate program since the first year of my undergraduate degree, so this invitation feels like a real honor. I look forward to discussing the degree further in person at the interview on March 6th at 2pm in the Gorden Hotel. Kind regards, Shauna Eldridge

Due to the slightly more personal nature of communication in the humanities, it is okay to write a longer email accepting a grad school interview than it would be in the sciences. 

While you shouldn’t ramble on, as this makes a bad impression regardless of the academic field in question, you can certainly include a sentence describing the nature of your interest in the program you are applying for.

This will make you stand out as an enthusiastic candidate!

 

7. Dear Professor Alan, Thank you for your email and for inviting me to an interview at Freigate University. I have been following your work on neoclassicism closely and am looking forward to meeting you to interview for the master’s in philosophy at Calbrery University. Of the times given, January 7th at 2pm via Zoom works best for me. Kind regards, Kelly Donovan

Informality under these circumstances normally translates into a reference to a specific area of research you are interested in. Most master’s program admissions committees are staffed by the professors who will end up teaching said master’s students, so it doesn’t hurt to demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the field. 

That said, don’t overdo it! One sentence expressing a specific interest in an area of research will suffice. Otherwise, stick to the general guidelines for responding to an invitation to interview for a place at grad school. 

 

8. Dear Dr. Green, Thank you for your email, your kind words about my application, and for the invitation to sit an interview at John Uopking University. I gladly accept the invitation and look forward to discussing my potential future at JU. The time suggested, 1pm on Saturday, April 11th, works perfectly. I look forward to speaking then! Kind regards, Holly O’Brien

A good line to use when accepting a grad school interview is “I look forward to discussing my potential future at [name of university].” This sets you up as a serious candidate who is not just hoping blindly for an acceptance letter, but who knows they have serious academic ability and a lot to offer and is considering their options carefully. 

People who are happy to accept any offer at all come off as less confident in their ability. For this reason, even a subtly phrased signal of self-belief––such as suggesting that the interview is a discussion between two people with the potential to offer each other something, not a one-way assessment––will go a long way towards making a good impression.

 

9. Dear Dr. Rashad, I greatly appreciate the invitation to interview for a place in the 2023 MFA cohort at Bergravia University. Conducting the interview in New York would be most convenient for me, so I would like to book in the 5pm slot at the Charter Hotel, if possible. I look forward to speaking then! Kind regards, Gregory Eisenhower

Sometimes, grad school admissions committees will offer applicants several potential places and times for an interview.

In this case, read through the options carefully. Make sure you don’t get the times for the various places mixed up! 

There’s no point in suggesting an interview at 5pm in the New York location when there is only a 5pm slot in the Connecticut spot! And you don’t want to have to do a bunch of messy follow-up emailing. 

Whatever your grad school is offering, read through the options carefully and proofread your email before clicking send. 

 

10. Dear Prof. von Maastricht, Thank you for your email. I gladly accept the offer of an interview with the English department at CDU. The proposed time works well for me. I look forward to meeting you and discussing the program! Kind regards, Seamus Biery

This is an excellent example of a short and sweet acceptance of a grad school interview. Ultimately, you never need to say any more than this! 

The admissions committee just wants to know you will attend and they will assess your suitability for their university in the interview itself. 

 

How to respond to an invitation to interview for grad school: The sciences 

The sciences require a high level of formality in correspondence.

That said, responding to an invitation to interview in application to study a science at grad school does not differ dramatically from the response for any other grad school subject. Follow the basic structure set out above and you should not have a problem. 

Avoid using too many colloquialisms and keep your message clear, concise, and to the point. 

Here are a few examples for how you could respond to an invitation to interview for a place on a grad school science degree. 

 

11. Dear Dr. Kaima, Many thanks for your email and for the invitation to interview for the master’s in Neurobiology at George Foreman University. The suggested time works perfectly. I look forward to speaking to you on March 2nd at 2pm in the Hannah Davis Building. Kind regards, Shayala Nekin

This sample response is clear, short, and to-the-point. One way to think about your response email accepting an interview for grad school is that it is just a question of repeating back the facts of the matter. 

State the university name, the degree program, and the time, place, and location of the interview. As long as both parties are clear on these details, the interview will go forward! And that, after all, is the point of this whole exchange!

 

12. Dear Professor Jori, Thank you for offering me the opportunity of an interview in application to study towards a master’s in Physics at Newton University. I gladly accept and propose Sunday the 2nd of March at 2pm on the NU campus for the interview time. Please let me know if this is suitable. I look forward to meeting you! Kind regards, Yael Jameson

Sometimes, grad school admissions committees ask candidates to propose interview times themselves! If this is the case, don’t neglect to suggest a time and place. 

Make sure you check your schedule so that you don’t end up having to cancel at a later date. Then make a clear proposal for where to meet. 

Whenever logistical responsibility of this kind is given to the applicant, the admissions committee is likely also assessing their ability to organize. And while this may seem like a minor organizational responsibility, you’d be surprised how many people get tripped up by small matters like this. 

So, double-check everything! And proofread your email. Also, don’t neglect to include the other necessary parts of the email. 

 

13. Dear Dr. Gordan, I appreciate the offer of an interview in application for a place in the 2023 cohort studying towards a master’s in astrophysics at Gerhard Stein University. I gladly accept and look forward to speaking further. Monday the 3rd of May at 2pm on the GSU campus works well. Speak to you then! Kind regards, Shannon O’Rourke

One more important thing to note about emails accepting an invitation to interview at a grad school, is that you need to be addressing the admissions committee member corresponding with you correctly. 

Not using their preferred salutation will be interpreted as a sign that you do not care enough about gaining a place on the program to do basic research. Addressing someone in the correct way is a sign of basic respect. 

While academic supervisors will likely ask you to call them by their first name at some point, it is not a good idea to assume that level of familiarity right from the get-go. \

Also, always be sure to use an appropriate valediction like “Kind regards”, “Regards”, or “Sincerely.” It would be strange to say something as informal as “Warmest regards.”