So there's a band within which you want to play. You want to seem more informed than the average applicant but you want to make the other person feel useful (they're human after all!). So if this is a school you're interested in, know the following:
1) a 30 second answer to why you want to go there - Culture? Academics? Faculty? Placement? How does it enable your goals
2) a 30 second answer to why you'd be a good fit there - Is it super collaborative? Do you value that? Does it have groups or organizations you'd love to get involved in or particular values that you can relate to and will help you keep giving back to the school or community?
3) What specific things about the program that speak to you - Do they have weeks off in the middle of terms to go on trips? Does it have a focus on experiential or case? Do you like the way they structure their curriculum or if you can/can't go between other schools at the university?
4) Anything else that, as a part of your story, you should know. The last thing you want to do is say you've done all this research and then say one thing that isn't true or makes absolutely no sense.
As to what to ask them, here are some questions to get you started but keep it organic. It's a conversation.
1) What was your background and why did you choose program X
2) What did you like the most about this program?
3) What did you find surprising or less than appealing about the program? (keep in mind, part of their job is to keep you excited about this program so make them earn it, they'll appreciate you trying to get the full picture)
4) Ask them what they thought of the culture both in the classrooms and outside of them
5) If you got in, what's the one piece of advice they'd give you
These are just a few things to consider - there are obviously countless more but hopefully this will give you something to start from!
If you have any other questions, let me know!
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