How to Prepare for College Admissions Interviews

College admission interviews are a vital part of the college admission process. The college admission interview is both informative and evaluative.

Universities aim to offer applicants an opportunity to learn more about the school as well as also learn about the applicant’s interests, goals and how well they will contribute to the student body.

College admission interviews may be just what you need to give your application an extra boost. It is incredibly nerve-wracking to spend a few minutes with a stranger and have them decide your future. However, with proper preparations, the jitters will be pushed aside and your confidence will take over.

How to Prepare for a College Admissions Interview

Understand the interview

Many applicants fear admission interviews because they view them as interrogations. However, an interview is a great way to demonstrate your interest in the college as well as initiate a relationship with its representatives. The admissions officers are simply looking for qualities that cannot be reflected in an application.

Schools schedule admission interviews to determine how well a student has researched the university and ultimately make a decision whether the student is a good fit for the institution. If you already dread the admission interview, you need to change your perception. A great interview proceeds like a good conversation, and it may even be fun.

Learns as Much as You Can About the School

You already have information about the school, but this is the time to dig a little deeper. Scour the school’s brochures and website and ensure that the information you find on the internet comes from an accurate source. Imagine asking the admission officer about their MBA program; while in fact, they do not have an MBA program. Having adequate information about the college shows that you have a genuine interest and that you are taking the admission process seriously. Gather all the information on your chosen major:

  • How the course is structured
  • The entry requirements
  • The optional modules

Be prepared to explain in your interview why you are interested in your chosen major and the motivation for enrolling in your chosen course.  To demonstrate adequate knowledge about your chosen area, read up on the latest news, research, and developments in the field.

Fact: Part of demonstrating knowledge about the school is asking relevant questions about the school and your course of interest.

Reread Your Statement and Your Application Materials

The admission officers may use your application materials to strike up a conversation with you. They may also seek clarification from the information you have provided. It is therefore important to have all the information on your application at your fingertips.

Review your application essay so that it is fresh in your mind when you interview. The interviewers are likely to refer to things you have mentioned in your personal statement or application essay.  This is one reason why it is very important to be honest with the information that you provide

Anticipate Questions

Be prepared to answer some questions. College admission officers want to know that you have the maturity to speak clearly and be comfortable even in nerve-wracking situations. They need to know that you can have a solid adult conversation and you are clear about where you are in your life and where you want to be. Some of the questions that you can anticipate include:

  • Questions about your fit with the college
    • Why are you applying to the school?
    • What do you intend to major in?
    • Are there specific courses, faculty members or programs that you are particularly interested in?
    • Which extracurricular activities do you hope to be involved in?
    • Why do you think the school is the right fit for you? – This is a great opportunity to talk about what you have learned about the college and why you feel it is the right place for you.
  • Questions about your personality

The questions are meant to reveal whether you know yourself and whether you can speak about yourself

  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Can you discuss a personal challenge that you faced and overcame?
  • Question about activities, interests and goals

The interviewer wants to know you better and learn what is important to you.

  • What do you do for fun?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What extracurricular activities do you enjoy?
  • What internships have you been involved in?
  • Questions on personal development
  • These questions are used to determine what you are doing to improve yourself.
    • What books are you currently reading?
    • What is your favorite movie?

On the Interview Day

  • Dress appropriately: More conservative outfit, minimum accessories, makeup, and non-flashy jewelry
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early for some extra time to relax and prepare mentally

By all means, avoid the following mistakes:

  • Exhibiting immaturity: you interview is partially about proving your independence. Having your parents in the interview room screams immaturity
  • Acting disrespectful or rude: checking your cell phone for any reason may be misconstrued for rudeness
  • Skipping school research: Do not ask questions that can simply be answered by perusing the school’s website for a few minutes
  • Going overboard with bragging: There is a difference between confidence and plain old bragging

Rehearsing too much: interviewers are seeking to know what you are like as a person. The admission officer can tell if you came in with numerous rehearsed canned answers

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