Prepare for the college interview with practice and research. Relax and reveal yourself. Express yourself in writing with a resume and thank you note.
The college interview rarely makes or breaks an admission decision but it can be an important component of your application. Before you even begin to get nervous, check to see if the interview is a requirement for your application. Determine if the interview is required, optional, or not offered at all, by reviewing college websites or calling the admissions office for details. If you are required to schedule an interview, schedule early because spots fill quickly. Consider scheduling on the date that you registered for the info session and campus tour. In addition, be sure to understand the nature of the interview—informational or evaluative? Either way the interview serves as an opportunity for two people to get to know each other.
Practice your interview technique before setting off to campus. Conduct a mock interview with a parent or teacher and ask for feedback on how you come across. You might want to videotape your practice session and evaluate your own performance. As you move through your practice interviews, keep in mind that typical questions may include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What can I tell you about X college?
- Why are you interested in X College?
- What do you want to study?
- What can you bring to our campus?
- What are you reading? Your favorite book?
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you plan to do after graduation?
Revise your resume and bring it with you to the interview. Sharing your accomplishments with the interviewer will help him or her focus on your interests and endeavors. Express your ideas and remember to talk about your specific interest in the college. Be sure to research the school before the interview so you can ask thoughtful questions about academic programs and student life. Ask questions that show that you have thought carefully about your goals and how the school can help you meet them.
- What does the school do really well?
- What is student life like? What is important to the student body?
- What kind of student attends this college/university?
- How is academic advising set up for freshman?
- Are there research/internship opportunities in most majors?
Want additional resources? Read our post on scheduling a college interview.