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?

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

Nicholas Umphrey

Preparing for interviews

Ask your guidance counselor for standard college interview questions, they either have a copy in their files, or they can find a web address with standard questions. I would spend some time before hand preparing for any potential questions you may get and do an outline of your responses. Do not construct verbatim responses because this will make you more anxious, and you will come across as ingenuine to the interviewer if your responses are scripted. Then record yourself by video answering these questions with the help of a friend. You can then look at your posture and body language in answering these questions.

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.

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.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

3Rs: Research, Relax, and Relax

The best ways to prepare for an interview is to remember the 3 Rs: RESEARCH RELAX RELAX Ok -- so that's not really 3Rs -- but I think that relaxing is really important so I thought I'd list that twice! I have interviewed scores of students over 6 years for my alma mater, and I have learned that nothing makes for a great interview than a student who is informed about the school and relaxed! Students should definitely check out the school's website for the latest school news and information and prepare some questions based on that preliminary research. There is nothing worse that interviewing a student who clearly has done ZERO research on my alma mater prior to the interview! It makes me think that this student does not have a strong interest in attending, you know? Now for the relaxed part -- take a deep breath, smile and relax. The interview is going to be about the subject YOU know best! Why? It's going to be about Y-O-U! No one will be testing you on calculus or asking you to recite a soliloquy (unless you really really want to)! They want to know more about the person behind the application! What kinds of books have you read lately? Do you read any newspapers? What do you like to do in your free time? Those are the kinds of questions that I have asked in the past, and I suspect that many other interviewers ask similar questions. Remember your 3Rs -- and GOOD LUCK!

Claire Law

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

Practice, practice, practice! Have a friend of yours ask you the questions you fear the most. Ask your parents or a counselor to do a mock interview with you. This is what we do as educational consultants to help students prepare for “evaluative” interviews. The Unigo college advisors would be glad to coach you. :)

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

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

Practice, practice, practice. Don't go in to an interview cold. Have your counselor, parents, sibling or friend ask you a series of questions. Get feedback. Try answering a few questions in front of a mirror. It is ok to be nervous, but you don't want to shut down in an interview.