Not all schools include interviews as part of their admission process, but if one of the schools you’ve applied to does conduct them, there’s no need to stress. Interviews are a great opportunity to learn more about a school and show off who you are outside of your application.
Though meeting face to face with a school representative or alumni is certainly intimidating, college admission interviews are more a casual chat than a formal job interview. You can expect a laid-back atmosphere and your interviewer to be friendly and amiable – he or she truly wants to learn about you.
The following tips will help you leave a great impression.
Remember why you applied
While interview questions differ among schools, you can always expect to be asked why you choose to apply to the particular school. The question may also be phrased as what interests you most about the school. No matter how it’s asked, be ready with an authentic answer that shows you’ve done more than read the school’s Wikipedia page.
Like the “why here” short answer question on the application, this is a chance to describe how specific opportunities at that school – whether it’s academic, extracurricular, or other opportunities – speak to your own interests, passions, or pursuits. Before your interview, reflect on what you’d be most excited to take part in should you attend that school.
The easiest mistake you can avoid during your interview is not asking questions. If you don’t ask questions, the interviewer will take it that you’re not truly interested in the school. Even if you know everything about the college from the most coveted classes to the best off campus food spots, there’s always something else you can learn.
For example, if your interviewer is an alumni, don’t be afraid to ask him or her about their own college decision: why did he or her she choose the school and what was the best and worst parts about the college experience. The interview is as much an opportunity to learn more about the school as it is for the school to learn about you. Pump for the interviewer for information; what you learn could help you choose where to attend later on.
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself
For some of you, talking about yourself comes easy, but for others, it’s not natural. The interviewer knows little about you, and often, they are not given your application to read, so it’s up to you to bring up your noteworthy experiences and accomplishments during the conversation. If you did something interesting over the summer, take part in community service, or participate in any clubs, include it in the conversation. The interviewer will be curious to learn more. The interview is also an opportunity to explain any weaknesses on your application such as a low grade.
It’s always a good idea to follow up with a quick email thanking the interviewer for his or her time. If you forgotten to mention something you believe is important, you can include it in the email as well.
What worries you the most about college admission interviews? Let us know in the comments.