A college interview is a chance for you to meet a representative of the school and talk to them about how the institution may be the right fit for you. Although most admissions officers will be more interested in your grades, test scores and essays, an interview is a great opportunity to show the school who you really are instead of relying on your application to do so. You can show your interest in the school, ask thoughtful questions and start a relationship with someone who makes admission decisions. This is also your chance to talk with someone who knows the ins and outs of the college.
How to prepare:
Getting an interview isn’t always easy, so when you do get the opportunity to meet with a college admissions officer, make sure you’re well prepared.
Do some research and figure out why you want to go to the school you’re interviewing with. Reflect on your high school experience and make a few notes about the things you do in your free time. Think about what will make you a good addition to the college.
Practice interviewing with friends and family, and ask them how you sound and what your body language is like. You can even try recording the interview so you can see yourself and make any corrections from there. Make a few of these practice interviews “dress rehearsals,” to help you decide what to wear. You should feel comfortable, but you need to dress well. If you happen to have a few interviews, schedule them so you’re interviewing with your top schools last. This way, you’ll be more polished by the time you reach your top choices.
Lastly, call to confirm the date, time and place, and the name of who you’re interviewing with – ask for a pronunciation and write it phonetically, as well as correctly. Make sure you have any documents you might need, like test scores or transcripts, and give yourself enough time to get to the interview. If you have a habit of running late, pretend your interview is 30 minutes earlier.
Just be yourself
Remember to always be yourself. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can be difficult if you get nervous the day of, or if you find interviewing to be stressful. Just keep calm, stay confident and show your interest. The interviewer wants this to go well, too. Also, keep in mind, the interview won’t make or break your college career. Finding the right college is all about looking for the right fit. If you’re a good match, the admissions officer will see that.
Common interview questions:
What’s important to you, and why?
Whether it’s sports, student counsel, clubs or class, figure out what it is you’re passionate about. What are your interests? What creative or productive things do you do in your free time? Why do you love doing the things you do? These are the types of things that make you an interesting candidate, and your interviewer will want to know about them.
What current issues concern you?
Read up on what’s happening at your school, in your community, in your city, the state, and the world. What are the current issues? How do you feel about them? Your interviewer will want to know what you think, and how you came to those conclusions.
Why do you want to go to this school?
Make sure you research the college you’re interviewing for. Are there any classes or programs that interest you? What makes this particular college stand out to you?
Other questions to think about:
- Who are the major influencers in your life?
- What do you want to major in and why?
- What will you contribute to the campus community?
- What is a challenge that you’ve overcome, and what did you learn from it?
- Does your high school record accurately reflect your effort and ability?
Find out why these questions and others are important.
After the interview:
Be sure to send a thank you note. An email is perfectly acceptable. Keep it short and sweet, and if there was a moment during your meeting that really stood out – you bonded over a sports team, a book you both enjoyed, something you two found funny – mention it. It will help the interviewer remember you.