The admissions interview is a pivotal step in your journey to a successful career in clinical mental health counseling. The admissions interview is not merely a formality but a crucial opportunity for you to exhibit your passion for the field, demonstrate your empathetic skills, and discern whether the program meets your professional goals. Read on for tips about preparing for your interview, responding to typical questions, showcasing your emotional intelligence, and making a lasting impression for your future with the Oklahoma City University online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program.
Understanding empathy in clinical mental health care
Empathy lies at the core of successful therapeutic relationships in clinical mental health counseling. Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a pivotal tool in fostering a connection that paves the way for therapeutic change.1 Conveying empathy through your interaction will illustrate this vital quality to the admissions committee.
The importance of admissions interviews
Graduate school interviews are about more than just verifying your academic credentials; they delve into the intrinsic qualities that define the compatibility between candidates and their intended programs.2 For you, the applicant, this moment is your platform to distinguish yourself, voice your unique perspectives, and showcase your earnest dedication to clinical mental health counseling.
Pre-interview preparation: know yourself and the program
Thoroughly researching the program is essential for many reasons, including helping you have a great interview. This foundational step helps you personalize your responses and formulate questions that show you're well-versed in the program's specifics. Simultaneously, self-reflection helps determine how your values and motivations align with the program's ethos.3
Typical interview questions
Expect questions about your history, professional aspirations in clinical mental health counseling, research inclinations, and significant challenges you have faced. Discussing your comprehension of mental health issues and how the program's curriculum complements your career objectives is critical.4 When you're invited to ask questions, respond by inquiring about aspects of the program that are important to your goals.
Presenting your best self
You want to be well-rested and alert for your interview and to focus on how the program meshes with your personal goals. On the day, select attire that reflects the seriousness of your intent. Linking your personal narrative to professional goals during the interview is imperative, and presenting yourself with polished poise reflects confidence.5
Avoid these common interview mistakes
Overpreparation and reliance on rehearsed responses can hinder genuine interaction. In contrast, conveying genuine curiosity about the program while focusing on your passion for counseling positions you as a prepared and considerate candidate. Remember that the admissions counselors want to get to know you and your goals.
How to showcase empathy and self-awareness during your interview
Active listening is more than just listening—it also demonstrates emotional intelligence and empathy. Engage thoughtfully with interviewers' questions, and don't hesitate to ask for clarification when needed. Follow-up questions exhibit your attention to detail and ensure your responses are tailored to the questions asked.
When possible, frame your responses to questions with the STAR method to give a complete and memorable answer. Start by describing the situation(S) and your task (T), then describe your actions (A) and the results (R). Such self-aware and measured contributions to the interview can highlight your professionalism and emotional intelligence, showcasing your sensitivity to the subtleties of human interaction.4
End the interview well
As the interview concludes, remember to express gratitude for the opportunity. A gracious, sincere thank you will reinforce the positive impression you've established and end the meeting on a high note. Remember also that the interview is just one piece of the bigger picture that you are painting with your application package. While the interview is important, the admissions committee weighs all your materials in deciding whether to offer you a place in the program.5
Let Oklahoma City University help you launch your career
Whether you’re ready to take the next step in your career as a mental health professional or you still have questions, admissions outreach advisors for Oklahoma City University (OCU) are standing by to help you on your path. OCU faculty are committed to helping every student become a confident therapist with a clear vision for their professional practice. The flexible online program is designed to help you earn your graduate degree and prepare for licensure without compromising your other commitments. Take the next step toward your professional future. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor, or begin your application today.
- Retrieved on December 8, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151200/
- Retrieved on December 8, 2023, from thoughtco.com/graduate-school-admissions-interview-dos-and-donts-1686243
- Retrieved on December 8, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/graduate-school-interview-questions
- Retrieved on December 8, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/how-to-use-the-star-interview-response-technique
- Retrieved on December 8, 2023, from alexafriedman.medium.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-about-interviewing-for-graduate-school-4753c87434be