college interview is one of many factors in the admissions
process, which typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour.
Most colleges do not require an interview. However, some colleges
still require an interview, some recommend it (which is an
offer you should not refuse), and others leave it up to the
applicant. If a particular college requires an interview,
you can assume that it is a major part of their admissions
interview is a chance to meet face-to-face with an admission's
officer. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more
about the college and for the college to learn more about
you as a person, besides your application, grades, test
scores, recommendations, etc. The interview is also a chance
to explain fair or below average grades, discuss any personal
circumstances (i.e. parents divorce, learning disability,
etc.) that affected your studies, or describe any special
accomplishments or honors not stated on your application.
for the Interview
If you have to schedule an interview, make sure you schedule
it early so you can get an appointment at a convenient time.
When you schedule your interview, take note of the person’s
name who made the appointment. Once you schedule your interview,
you should call or check the college’s view book to
learn more about the school's policy on interviews, if it
was not explained to you before.
can prepare for a college interview by:
It is very important to learn as much as possible about
the college and the academic program you plan to study.
You should familiarize yourself with information about
the college by reviewing their guidebooks, catalog,
and website. Reading information about the college before
the interview will help you prepare for any questions
regarding the college. This will show the interviewer(s)
that you have done your research.
Preparing for an interview may be a difficult task for
some students. The easiest way to prepare for an interview
is to have one or two “mock interviews.”
A mock interview consists of having someone (i.e. teacher,
counselor, parent) pretend to be the interviewer and
ask you several interview questions.
The “mock interviewer”
should be able to critique your answers, appearance,
presentation, etc. This feedback will help identify
your strengths and weaknesses. Ask the “mock
interviewer” a few questions about your answers,
what can you do better, how do you look and sound,
etc. You do not want to appear unorganized or unprepared
during the interview. You should be able to provide
a confident answer to each question asked by the interviewer.
The interviewer may ask you these Sample
College Interview Questions.
What to expect in an interview
During the interview, the admission officer(s) will observe
your overall appearance, attitude, personality, and how
you communicate. The interviewer may ask you questions based
on information provided on your application and supporting
documents (i.e. high transcript, resume, and test score
reports). You should be prepared to discuss your educational
background, career goals, strengths/weaknesses, likes/dislikes,
academic achievements and failures, extracurricular activities,
financial needs, personal values, turning points in your
life, and influential people. It would be in your best interest
to review the application package you submitted to the college
before the interview. You should also be prepared to explain
why you are interested in their college. Your honesty is
a key factor during the interview. Review the Sample
College Interview Questions.
or towards the end of the interview, the admissions officer
expects you to ask a few questions about the college, the
major you plan to pursue, or your concerns about attending
the school. Avoid asking questions whose answers are clearly
stated in the college catalogs, viewbooks, and other literature
you received. You should bring a written list of questions
to the interview, if necessary, to be sure you don't forget
your questions due to nervousness or excitement in the interview.
Review our list of Sample
Questions to Ask the Interviewer to help you
create your list of questions to ask.
It would be helpful to have a pen and paper so that you
can take notes about what is discussed as well as if other
questions come up that you will want to ask. Don't be afraid
to take notes during the interview.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a list of Do's and Don'ts during an interview.
punctual and arrive approximately 10 minutes early.
This will give you time to relax. In fact, it is probably
good to arrive early, many college admission officers
will ask you to complete a questionnaire before the
yourself. Do not try to be someone you are not.
Remember to Breathe. A good deep breath will help you
relax and think clearly about the interview!
appropriately. This doesn't have to mean dresses for
the women and suits for the men, but be neat, clean,
and presentable. It is recommended that men should wear
a conservative suit and tie; and women should wear a
conservative dress or a pants suit, and avoid using
each question honestly and truthfully.
questions as clearly as possible, and take your time
to think your answers over. Don't tell the interviewer
what you think he/she wants to hear.
to incorporate your goals, qualities, and experiences
into your answers. Do not rush into answering the question.
a firm handshake. Avoid using a crushing or weak handshake.
While shaking the interviewer's hand, make eye contact.
eye contact when you introduce yourself and if your
parents are present, remember to introduce them as well.
Maintaining good eye contact throughout the interview
shows that you are attentive, confident, and respectful.
Do not stare.
facing the interviewer. You want to project that you
are alert and attentive. Positioning your body away
from the interviewer may give the interviewer the impression
that you are rude or not interested.
and laugh when appropriate.
your interviewer’s name and thank him/her after
not dress casually. Do not show up in jeans, T-shirt,
earrings, fancy jewelry, pagers, etc.
not wear a lot of cologne or perfume or chew gum
not arrive late. Arriving late does not give a good
impression of you.
crossing your arms, this will make you seem defensive.
You want to have an "open" appearance and
seem interested at all times.
not talk too much about one particular subject. Answer
the question and move on. Do not go into details unless
asked by the interviewer.
not make inappropriate or rude comments. Avoid all of
the following: profanity, jokes, personal comments about
the interviewer, political or religious comments. Things
of this nature may eliminate you from the list of eligible
nervous habits such as: biting your nails, twiddling
your thumbs, playing with a pen or pencil, shaking your
leg, tapping your foot during the interview, etc. These
habits and others may be distracting.
drifting off while the interviewer is speaking. Pay
attention and listen to what the interviewer is saying.
Do not look out the window, at the furniture, or at
the walls. Stay focused!
not interrupt the interviewer when he/she is speaking.
slang or phrases such as: “huh,” "um,"
"like," or "you know", etc. To avoid
theses phrases, you should take a few moments before
you respond and think about what you are about to say.
Always try to provide a clear answer.
responses with only "yes" or "no"
not forget to send a Thank You card or letter.
After the Interview
After the interview, send the interviewer a Thank You letter
(with correct name and spelling) when you return home. A
Thank You letter should be short, simple, and sincere. You
can add a personal touch by handwriting the letter.
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