The college interview is often the final step in the application process. Interviews are taken seriously so be sure to arrive at your meetings
Here are my top 9 college interview tips:
- Do your research. Consult the school’s website and view other review sites, so you appear informed and knowledgeable.
- Practice! Interviews go much smoother when you have practiced with potential questions and have planned a variety of answers. Practice with your parents, counselor, or even your friends.
- Dress professionally. You do not need to wear a suit and tie but be sure to dress conservatively and in professional business style.
- Bring a copy of your transcript and activity resume. It will show your interviewer you have come prepared. But be sure to know your personal history. Interviewers may ask about specific courses or grades and expect you to be able to explain your experiences in each class and activity.
- You should have five intelligent questions prepared. It is okay to bring a sheet of paper or notebook with your questions written out. Create questions that are unique to the school and do not have obvious answers on the website. Try to ask open-ended questions that will open up the conversation for further dialogue.
- Have reasons behind your five questions. An experienced college admissions interviewer recently told us that after a student asks him questions, he responds by asking why that question matters to the student.
- Engage the interviewer. Interviewers often want to talk about themselves and their experiences with the college. Remember to stay involved in an active conversation and let your interviewer talk as well.
- Aim for a personal connection. Try to find something in common with your interviewer and leave them with a lasting impression. This one is hard to prepare for as you may not know anything about your interviewer beforehand. Look for opportunities to make a connection outside of college topics during the interview. For example, my friend successfully engaged interviewer discussing the value of the websites that publish the ranking of cheapest programs. You should know a bit about the subject. haha.
- Follow-up and say thank you. Get your interviewer’s card or contact information and send a handwritten note or email within one week of the interview. In your “thank you” note be sure to remind the interviewer of the day, time and location of your interview to help jog their memory.
Here are a handful of sample college interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would your friends and teachers describe you?
- Why are you interested in our college?
- Tell me about your high school experience. What has been the best part and what would you change? Is there anything you would do differently?
- Is there anything you’d like to change about your past?
- Tell me about your favorite teacher.
- What are your academic interests? Are you interested in a particular major?
- What have been your strongest and weakest subjects in high school?
- What are your greatest personal strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you do with your free time? Tell me about your favorite sports, hobbies, interests.
- What are some of your favorite books and authors? Why?
- What’s your favorite book that was not required reading for a class?
- What have you done during your summers?
- What do you hope to get out of college?
- What academic and extracurricular activities would you like to pursue in college?
- What are your goals?
- How would you contribute to our university?
- What current social/political issues are you interested in or concerned about right now?
- Tell me about a challenge you have faced and how you dealt with it.
- What other colleges are you looking at and why?
- Is there anything else you would like me to know about you?
- Do you have any questions for me?