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Preparation

Preparation is essential; it can reduce interview anxiety and help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. Use these tips and strategies to make the most of your prep time.

Review your application materials so the information provided is fresh in your mind.

  • Be prepared to discuss the experiences, ideas, and interests covered in your resume, personal statement, policy paper, and disclosure statement. Anything mentioned in your application is fair game for the interview.
  • The selection committee may also ask questions to see what kind of breadth of policy-related knowledge and interests you have outside of those addressed in your application.
  • Put yourself in the selection committee’s shoes. What questions or concerns might they have about your application, experience, interests, and relevant knowledge? What would they find most interesting and insightful in distinguishing you from other candidates?
  • Consider how you will address
    • Aspects of your application that could have been stronger
    • Questions about sensitive or controversial political issues or personal beliefs
    • Potential concerns (i.e. anything listed on your disclosure statement)

Reflect on your background, academic and leadership experiences, personal strengths and weaknesses, achievements, skills, career goals, and aspirations.

  • Think about what you want the committee to know and remember about you. What personal characteristics and qualifications do you want the committee to describe you and distinguish you from other candidates? “This is the candidate who _____________.”
  • Consider how you might compare to the potential applicant pool. What unique skills, knowledge, and insights do you bring to the program?
  • Make the argument for why the committee should select you over other similarly qualified candidates or candidates with similar backgrounds or policy interests.

Reinforce your knowledge of public policy and current events to position yourself as a strong candidate. These resources will be particularly helpful in your effort to keep abreast of the latest developments in all areas of policy, politics, and the public sphere.

The Daily Texan
The Austin-American Statesman
The Texas Tribune
The Washington Post
Politico
The Wall Street Journal