Interviewing is storytelling.  Like storytelling, preparation and practice is the foundation to success.

Here is an example of a student preparing for a graduate program that values volunteering, clinical experience, and cultural competencies. (Think topic sentences with supporting details.)


Things you are, know, and do

I am other-focused and have a volunteer mind-set

  • Volunteer 10+ hours per week at two organizations
  • Recently received Volunteer of the Year service award through United Way
  • My passion to volunteer started in high school when someone took the time to serve our family during a health crisis;  I wanted to do that for someone else and have been ever since
The Position

Connect yourself with program/company

My clinical experience will be foundational for what I will learn in your program

  • For 3 years I worked in an Optometry clinic and conducted all screening and flagged concerns, etc. for the Doctor
  • Additional clinical experience this past summer as a CNA; confirmed desire to work in the medical field

Both my family background and my travel experiences have prepared me to work with people from all backgrounds

  • Grew up in a bi-racial home that valued both my Irish and Latino families; gave me a rich understanding of the role culture plays in development and the way you perceive the world
  • Completed two study abroad experiences—Italy and Portugal
  • In my clinical roles, I often found myself considering there could be cultural context for health-related decisions; also had the ability to make people comfortable sharing their backgrounds as I have experience meeting people who are from diverse backgrounds


Once you know what you want to communicate throughout the interview, build your answers to support that message.

Tell me about yourself:  I grew up locally in a bi-racial home where we celebrated both cultures in significant ways. This, combined with people responding to my family during a health crisis when I was young, positioned me to look at the world focused on others—curious about their culture and history but also with a desire to serve and meet their needs.  This perspective has served me well in the clinical setting—both in an optometry clinic but also in my recent role as a CNA.  I find that I can easily connect to others, making them comfortable and more open to receive care.  Being a care provider is something I always thought I would enjoy, but this summer confirmed it and now I am excited to be applying to the PA program at GVSU.   

Be a Star!

Also consider some stories that highlight behavioral based interview goals where the premise is that past behavior predicts future behavior.  Which of your stories illustrate your ability to be a leader, a team member, resolve a conflict/solve a problem, describe their communications style, etc.?  When crafting these stories, use the STARR method.

A=action steps


Additional Interviewing Resources

Interviewing Videos

Candid Career Video on interviewing

Video advice on interviewing

additional information