How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

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Our counselors answered:

How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

Music enables us to remember information—think of “Now I Know My ABCs.” Music can calm the wild beast or encourage us to purchase in shopping environments. For the college/scholarship/job interview, it can be an energizing and positive attitude booster. So find your own theme song. One you can listen to, sing or just hum to yourself, right before the interview to get you geared up for the “Main Event.” You can go with show tunes, “I Believe in You” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying or “I am the Starlight” from Starlight Express or older classics like “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and "I’ve Got the World on a String” by Frank Sinatra.

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

Finding your own song that makes you feel good about yourself! You can use any song that makes you feel confident and strong. A recent client’s pep song was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Some upbeat songs are  “I Feel Good” by James Brown, “Don’t Stop (thinking about tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac,  “You are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python).

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

In addition to a song, try a catch phrase! You can repeat that phrase to yourself to give you courage. Many actors use this technique before big auditions. Remember, your goal is to give yourself the confidence and enthusiasm to present your best self during the interview or in any stressful situation, so start with finding a theme song or a catch phrase and go from there!

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

How can having a theme song help ace the college interview?

I have never been aware of an applicant having a theme song. I'm actually not that sure how receptive I would be if a student were to sing me a song unless it were so clever and not in the least bit offensive. That does not mean, however, that another interviewer wouldn't think it a clever tactic or conversation starter! The way a candidate does extraordinarily well with me - and I have conducted so many interviews - is to show respect and exceptional preparation. I want to know that the student really knows and cares about Brown, for example. If he or she conveys that in words and not in song, I am going to be pleased. If a student displays excellent critical thinking in the interview, I will be even impressed.

Lisa Bleich
President College Bound Mentor, LLC

The Music of Your Life

Just like Ally McBeal, having a theme song can help you nail the college interview because it can keep you focused on what makes you unique. Your theme song should correspond with who you are and what common threads run through your life. For someone who likes a challenge your theme song can be "Ain't no Mountain High Enough." This can be running through you head and you can give examples of how at each turn, you have challenged yourself and kept pushing forward. For someone who is a bit quirky or different, but has stayed true to himself, his theme song could be "Just the Way You Are." by Bruno Mars to keep you grounded and realize that your difference is what makes you special and you can center your interview around all of the ways that you have shown this through your creativity, your determination, or your acceptance of self. So think about songs that speak to you and figure out how the theme mirrors your own life philosophy. Then when you are in the interview, sing out strong.

Juliet Giglio
Montgomery Educational Consulting

A theme song will help you ace the college interview

College interviews can be nerve wracking. If you create a theme song for yourself, you'll be more likely to remember the important points about yourself

Willard Dix
Director of Programming Chicago Scholars

Stand Out from the Crowd

A theme song can help you stand out by being memorable, but not in a good way, unless you are applying to a performing arts program or musical theater school. Otherwise, it will be embarrassing and gimmicky. You will make your interviewer uncomfortable, and if it's an alumnus you've met in a coffee shop, well, you'll both probably want to slink away before you've finished. Of course, I assume the question is about performing a theme song. If you just want to mention it, that's probably OK although I'm not sure why it would come up.

Peter Ratzan

Have an Agenda

When approaching the college interview, it is important to be prepared with specific experiences, characteristics, or qualities about yourself that you want to express to the interviewer. I call this "having an agenda". A typical college interview will last about 30 minutes, perhaps less, so you have very little time to express yourself. An interview is a give and take - you need to make sure you uphold your end of the bargain, er, conversation. So go in knowing what you want to express to the interviewer. If you speak 3 languages and want that to be known, somehow work that into the conversation. If you are an expert illustrator, or you have written an iPhone application find a way to work that in. Be conversational - interviewers loathe those awkward silences and love students who give full answers to questions. Avoid simple yes/no answers by elaborating on your responses. And if you do come across an awkward silence, take initiative by using it as an opportunity to ask a question. More than likely, the interviewer will conclude by saying, "Do you have any questions?". Try to have an 'extra' question prepared, so that you can ask it at the end. Finally, be sure to get a business card and follow up with a hand-written thank you note.

Ginger Fay
President Fay College Counseling, LLC

You're not Ally McBeal, but...

OK, none of you are probably old enough to have ever seen the legal dramedy that made Calista Flockhart famous, so here's the upshot - Ally used to imagine she had her own personal theme song (I think it was "Tell Him") and it gave her the confidence she needed to go into court or on a date or whatever. While I don't recommend breaking into a song and dance number in the middle of your interview (unless, of course, you are auditioning for a musical theater program), finding your own personal theme song can be a good exercise to help you prep for an interview. The point is that in order to interview successfully, you have to know who you are and how to introduce that to someone else. If a theme song doesn't work for you, you can go with something simpler, like, What are the three or four things someone needs to know about me in order to know what's important to me? These things could be both values you hold and accomplishments of which you are proud. If you can set those ideas to music in your head, great, but either way what you want is the confidence that comes from knowing who you are.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens


If it makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed, then go for it!