College Interview Tips and Strategies

prepmatters-vd-r04 prepmatters-vd-r04

Make the Most of College Interviews

By Michael Brick.

The majority of colleges are tracking and assigning value to your demonstrated interest—actions you take that help a college gauge how much you want to enroll. As a prospective student, you can show love in a number of ways. One of the most effective ways to show your dream school that you’re interested is by participating in a college interview.

The college interview serves a purpose for both you and the college. Beyond being highly recommended (and required at some schools), it’s a chance to show that you’re more than your grades and test scores. Admissions reps are looking to discover who you really. What motivates you? Makes you happy, sad, or angry? They are looking for: enthusiasm, intellectual promise, sense of humor, integrity, independence, leadership, personality, creativity, confidence, values.

It’s an opportunity to build upon your application. And if you’re on the cusp of acceptance, it can help tip the scale in your favor.

Below are some college interview tips and strategies to help:

Know Yourself

  • Why do you want to go to college?
  • Why do you want to go to Dream College?
  • How did Dream College get on your list? Why is it a good match?

Do Your Homework and Be Prepared

  • Call ahead and make an appointment
  • Read the literature or consult the website before you visit
  • Have at least four questions prepared that you cannot find the answers to on the website
  • Know your high school rank, test scores, and GPA
  • Practice

Nail the Interview

  • Put yourself in the context of your high school
  • Explain any holes or problems on your transcript
  • Describe your extracurricular activities. What has been the most important to you? What might you continue in college? Have you risen to any leadership positions?
  • Describe any activities you participate in outside of high school (involvement with your church, after-school job, etc.)
  • Do not bluff your way through the answers. It is okay to say “I don’t know.”
  • Avoid yes-and-no answers
  • Listen carefully and actively
  • Be yourself

Use Common Sense

  • Dress appropriately
  • Silence your phone—even the vibrations
  • Arrive early
  • Do not chew gum
  • Do not overshare
  • Do not swear
  • Do not speak poorly about your family or school

Finally, follow-through is essential. Collect business cards and hand write thank-you notes after your interview.

Good luck!

Becky Kahane

Tutor

Originally from Bethesda, Becky developed a love of learning early as a National AP Scholar and National Merit Scholar in high school. She has studied economics and politics at the University of Maryland on a full scholarship and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. After se...

See Full Profile