Are you gearing up for your college application process? Many colleges encourage prospective students to take part in interviews with admissions representatives or alumni. While your grades, test scores and essays are the most significant components, an interview offers a unique opportunity to showcase your personality and establish a personal connection with the admissions team. Here are the best ways to prepare for a college interview that will set you up for a successful experience and increase your chances of admission.
The Art of Practice: Sharpen Your Interview Skills
Just like any skill, interviewing requires practice. Enlist the help of a parent, teacher, counselor or friend to conduct mock interviews. Answer questions honestly and earnestly, then seek feedback to fine-tune your approach. Interviews usually last around 30 minutes to an hour, so practice making your responses succinct and impactful in order to fit into that time frame.
Over time, your confidence will improve, allowing you to shine during your actual interviews. Furthermore, your ability to have a flowing conversation gets better with each interview, so place the schools you care about most at the end of the process.
Conquer Common College Interview Questions
Equip yourself with answers to common interview questions that admissions officers tend to ask. Be ready to articulate your reasons for choosing the college, your favorite subjects, future aspirations, hobbies and unique qualities that might not be evident from your application alone. Provide specific examples to make your responses engaging and memorable.
Prepare for the Most Common College Interview Questions
While each interview is unique, there are several typical questions you should be prepared to answer. These questions provide insight into your fit with the college and your personality:
- Why do you want to attend this college?
- How do you see yourself contributing to this college campus?
- What adjectives best describe you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What activities do you find most rewarding?
- What’s your favorite book?
Mastering these questions with thoughtful and well-structured responses will leave a lasting impression and help the admissions team understand your unique qualities.
Navigating Unusual College Interview Questions
Sometimes, interviewers throw in unexpected questions to gauge your creativity, critical thinking and values. Prepare to tackle more complicated inquiries, such as:
- What’s your opinion on a current event that interests you?
- If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
These questions offer a chance to demonstrate your informed perspectives, creativity and thoughtful consideration of complex topics.
Strategically Crafted Questions: Your Secret Weapon
Your interviewer also expects you to ask questions about the school. By preparing insightful and creative questions that go beyond the information available on the college’s website, you will leave a lasting impression on your interviewer. Demonstrating genuine interest and curiosity not only showcases your dedication but also helps you stand out from the crowd.
Present Your Best Self
Remember that how you present yourself contributes to the interviewer’s impression of you. Therefore, authenticity is your strongest asset. Highlight the qualities that define you, your aspirations and how you envision contributing to the campus community. Reflect on your academic interests, the reasons behind your college choice and your post-graduation plans. Tailor your responses to showcase how you’ll be a valuable addition to the college’s ecosystem.
Your appearance and demeanor play a crucial role in making a positive impression, too. Dress comfortably but professionally and exude confidence through your posture and body language. A warm smile and genuine enthusiasm can go a long way in establishing rapport with your interviewer.
Express Gratitude: The Power of a Thank-You Note
Don’t underestimate the impact of a thank-you note. Express your appreciation for the interview opportunity, highlight any particularly valuable insights, and mention any personal connections you established during the interview. Though it may seem old fashioned, this gesture will set you apart from other applicants.
Find Out More from Your College of Choice
Sometimes universities offer their own guidance for interviews, which you should explore during your preparation. Occasionally, schools may extend optional interview opportunities to allow you to engage with current students and gain insight into campus life. Whether the interview pertains to admissions or serves as an informational session, make the most of each opportunity. This will enhance your interview abilities and leave a lasting impact.
Find Your Fit Can Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the college application process in general or the college interview in particular, we’re here to help by offering one-on-one college coaching through our Find Your Fit program.
Laura Lucarelle offers more than 25 years of experience as a school counselor for a wide range of students and families. She’ll guide you with focused planning within your schedule, provide a detailed review of college application materials, prepare for a college interview, manage deadlines and keep you on task. She can also conduct mock interviews and give you advice for campus visits to help you prepare for each individual school.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us today.