Although it is not required for admission at most colleges, the college interview can be your chance to shine. The interview is only one of many factors in an admissions decision process, but if you give an impressive interview, your interviewer could be able to write a letter supporting your admission to a school.
The type of interview you’ll have varies from school to school. Some schools have their admissions officers conduct interviews. Other schools rely on alumni and current students to interview potential students. A typical interview will last between 30 to 60 minutes.
- Research the college before the interview. Visit their web site and request information from the college’s public relations department. Information that can prove useful is the college’s size, its history, the main products and services they provide, and current news stories.
- Prepare what you want to say in the interview. Think about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your most significant work or school experiences, your future plans and why you are interested in that particular school.
- Be sure to rehearse with a mock interview. Ask a friend or a family member help you prepare for your interview by asking questions.
- Double-check the time and location of the interview. If it is an area that is new to you, consult a map or take a drive there before so you know how to get there.
- Dress appropriately. Don’t wear t-shirts and other casual clothing. Look neat and presentable – and keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum.
- Be punctual. Arrive a little early to allow yourself time to relax and focus.
- Be sure to listen carefully throughout the interview. It is easy to spend all your time planning your answers, but keep in mind that this is a conversation. Listening carefully helps you to respond appropriately. Make eye contact with the interviewer.
- Avoid generalities. Give concrete examples when describing your work/school experience and always be positive.
- Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about this college by asking intelligent questions about the campus. Draw upon your research about the college to ask relevant questions.
- Be your own best advocate. If there are special circumstances to discuss – such as a drop in grades – now is the time to explain. Sometimes it is easier to explain these to a sympathetic counselor.
But most of all, be yourself – sense of humor and all!