How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Nancy Smith

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

During the interview, remember that while you are trying to sell yourself to the school, the interviewer is trying to sell the school to you.  The ultimate point of the interview is to show that you are a good person - polite, and honest with a sense of humor about this unnerving admissions process.  To do this effectively you have to be yourself.

Richard Smith

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Prepare yourself by being ready to answer the following commonly-asked questions:

Why do you want to attend this school?

How will we help you to achieve your goals?

What do you plan on studying/majoring in and why?

Tell me about yourself, including who you are and what are some of your goals and dreams.

What books have you read lately? (Try not to discuss a book you read for school. It’s a rare fellow who reads Great Expectations for leisure. Interviewers want to see if you have a naturally-curious mind and that you enjoy learning outside of school. It can be helpful to get the conversation rolling if you bring a favorite book with you.)

What contributions can you make to this school?

What questions can I answer for you? (This is especially important because it is one of the most genuine opportunities for you to learn about the school from someone who knows. To have questions in mind also demonstrates your enthusiasm for the school. In any awkward silences, just ask the interviewer why he likes the school so much. Did he or she go there and what did they get out of it?)

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

I have a hot list of interview questions on my computer, and I run through these questions with students before they go on interviews. By practicing in front of a mirror or with another person, a student can prepare him or herself for the real deal. There are some classic interview questions: strengths and weaknesses; challenges overcome; favorite subjects in school; goals and objectives. All students should know their answers to those questions before that meeting with the interviewer. I also have students - even young students applying to private schools - carry in their questions on an index card or sheet of paper. Interviewers often allot time for such questions, and they reflect well on the particular student and serve to reinforce his interest in the school.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Interview Preparation

Thinking about your answers to potential questions can be invaluable. You don't want to be caught off guard, stumbling through a response with "uhs" and "I don't knows". You can seriously demonstrate interest by showing how you "fit" at that school. Make sure you've done your research and have good questions to ask the interviewer as well. Don't inquire about something that you could find the answer to yourself. Actually practicing with someone may help reduce the jitters, so don't forget to have a dry run. Independent Educational Consultants can put you through some practice sessions, so that you will feel prepared.

Helen Cella

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Research the mission of the school

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

Interview preparation tips

-- Become familiar with the college before the interview. -- Think about what you want the interviewer to learn about you. -- Think about 3 or 4 strengths or experiences you want to share. -- Think about what weaknesses you want to explain.. -- Anticipate questions that may arise because of anything unusual in your application. -- Prepare a few questions you have about the school. -- Prepare a binder or folder with paper, pen, a copy of your resume, your SAT/ACT scores, your GPA, and questions you have for the interviewer.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

When you go to an interview, take your resume with you. The interviewer will appreciate having notes to refer to during and after the meeting. Prepare a few specific questions about traditions or programs at the school. This will show that you are familiar with the college and will give you the opportunity to learn more. Interviews should be informative as well as evaluative.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Preparing for College Interview

Study yourself!!!! the purpose of the interview is to learn about you and what you have done throughout your life that makes you a great candidate for the school. Keep a copy of your resume with you so that you can highlight your accomplishments and know what makes you your best person and how you will incorporate that in your studies and at the university. Remember to read the mission and vision of the institution but don't exaggerate your accomplishments and interests but they should be aligned with what the school is looking for.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Regardless of the kind of interview one may have, the process always offers an opportunity for an applicant to make a good, distinctive impression. Consequently you should come prepared, ready to talk about yourself and the school—and how they might well come together in the future. Be ready to discuss the things that matter to you and about the aspects of the school that have drawn you to it. Be ready to share your passion and expand upon things you may have already discussed in your application. Be ready with some questions, but don’t ask the obvious—things that you could have learned through even a cursory look at the website. Ask about things that reflect your existing depth of understanding as well as your curiosity. Show yourself to be a thoughtful individual who will be a positive addition to the school community.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

How can a student prepare themselves best for a college interview?

Be yourself. Be genuine. Mind your manners, but you don’t have to be overly formal. (Be sure to send a thank you note once you return home!) Before the interview, PREPARE. Learn about the school; about the majors; about special programs. Go into the interview prepared to ask intelligent questions. Doing your homework will be impressive, and will help you get to know the college’s personality before you are seated in front of an interviewer.