How does the interview work?
You should contact the college admissions office via email and ask to be interviewed. Sometimes this will take place before you actually send the application to the school, sometimes it will take place afterwards. If possible, try to have the interview with an admissions officer at the school but if it is not possible, you may be able to have one on Skype. Some schools also conduct interviews locally using their alumni network. The interview is your chance to demonstrate interest in attending the school and to provide a personal perspective to your application file. You will meet (either face-to-face or virtually) with your interviewer and be asked various questions about your interests and activities and why you want to attend the school. in turn, you should have a chance to ask questions about the college.
Schools offer a range of interviews and their value and purpose vary as well. There are alumni interview, there are staff interviews and there are campus interviews. They can be a part of the application process or they can be a part of scholarship competitions. Some are aimed at learning about the applicant while others are simply opportunities for an applicant to learn more about the school. Some schools do not do them at all while others offer plenty of opportunities. In the ever changing landscape of college admissions, interviews are one of the most variable aspects of the process.
Most colleges do not require interviews and many do not even offer them, but if you can have one it is usually a good idea. It shows significant interest in a college and gives the admissions office a face and a personality to put with an application, in addition to giving you an opportunity to have your specific questions addressed. There are a few different types of interviews: Regional—Admissions Representatives travels to a city & schedules appointments, usually in a hotel suite. Alumni—Alumni conduct interviews in their home region for their alma mater. They are trained representatives, but you also need to bear in mind that they do not make admission decisions. On-campus—Normally conducted by an Admissions Officer, though you could also be seen by a current student (senior). Usually, they are individual but some colleges do group interviews. Don’t think there is safety in numbers with this method though. They take note of how you interact within the group—do you dominate, do you participate appropriately, or are you a statue? Phone/Web—If a college requires an interview and distance/time does not permit you to do one of the above options, a college may offer the opportunity to do a phone or web interview. The term interview is rather misleading these days. While it used to be a time when students were “grilled” it is much more humane now. It is usually viewed as a conversation…the sharing of information. While they won’t ask you what you are going to do to contribute to world peace, they will expect you to be able to talk about what is important to you and why you are considering their institution. Usually you will meet with the admission officer for about 20-30 minutes and then your parents will be brought in too, so their questions can be addressed. Be respectful of your parents, they are a part of this process & decision, too. Even if you are tired of traveling with them, or think they are asking embarrassing questions, refrain from the “Oh, Mom’s” or rolling the eyes. You don’t want the interviewer to get a bad impression of you. They are all quite used to talking with students and parents and chances are your parents won’t ask them any questions they haven’t answered many times before.
interviews are required by many selective colleges as part of admisisons process. however, if it is conducted on campus, the admisisons counselor will ask the questions and provide the notes for the student’s file. if it is conducted outside the campuse in most cases, someone else appointed will ask the question, that’s the tricky part.
Interview has little impact on college admissions in my view, however, students should prepare for the interview with resume and practice.
The interview may occur in person, via phone, skype, on campus, or off campus. You may be interviewed by an admission representative, alum, or student. Arrive on time, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, dress business casual, and send a thank you afterward. Be prepared for their questions by thinking about your responses. Don’t sound scripted, but be sure you have a chance to include points not covered in your paper application. When they ask you for any questions, make sure you are prepared with ones that you couldn’t find the answer to on your own. The interview is an opportunity for both you and the school to determine if the “fit” feels right.
No colleges require interviews and many large schools just do not have the man power to handle interviewing the thousands of students who might wish for one. Smaller colleges, who are more focused on holistically reviewing students and building a congenial freshman class want to interview potential students. It also offers admissions officers a chance to convince students to apply. When you call a college to ask for the times of the information sessions and tours, that is the best time to also inquire if the college offers interviews and if you could schedule one at that time. Many schools only offer alumni interviews with folks who live in your community. While they may not “count” as much as an on campus interview- it still shows colleges that you are serious about applying.
Some colleges don’t have any, but for those that do they must be arranged in advance. There are: on campus, off campus, interviews w/alums, students, and/or admissions staff. It is highly advisable to have one so as to present yourself in person, rather than just as a series of numbers and statements. The interview can be a make or break situation, so it is advisable to do interview prep w/an expert in the field. I could write a book about what follows (actually it’s part of a chapter in my book), but that’s for a brief free consultation.
Interviews vary from school to school but there are some important things to remember no matter where you are interviewing: 1) The interview should be a conversation. No interviewer wants to just fire questions at you without any kind of dialogue. Make sure you are prepared to back up your responses with more than just “because”; 2) You should be ready to ask some questions, too! By asking questions about the school you are demonstrating your genuine interest in the school and its offerings; 3) Dress appropriately! This doesn’t mean you need to buy a tux or a new evening gown but remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression…you need to decide what you’d like that impression to be; 4) Finally, make sure to thank the person interviewing you both before you leave and then perhaps a quick email or letter when you get home.
Here is my video response to the question.
Interviews can work in a variety of ways. Interviews can be offered by students or adults. They can be evaluative or informational. They can occur on or off campus. Interviews by students will almost always be on campus. They are a great opportunity for applicants to learn more about a school. And they provide a chance for a school to learn whether a current student believes the applicant will fit in well academically and socially. Interviews by adults can be conducted by admissions officers or alumni. Some alums are relatively recent grads, while others may have graduated decades ago. Evaluative interviewers give feedback that generally ends up in the applicant’s admissions file. The primary goal of an informational interview is to answer questions the applicant may have (these may feel a little like sales pitches depending on the school and the interviewer).
For schools where the interview is optional, the applicants need to contact the admissions office to request and schedule an interview. For schools where the interview is mandatory, the admissions office will contact the student to set up a time and place.
An interview can happen in several different environments, your school, a coffee shop, or the college itself. Admission officers give the interviews that mean the most to the admission committee. Alumni interviews can vary from meeting with someone wonderful and meeting with someone who is not very nice. When you can interview with the college admission counselor, do it!
The interview will be setup based on the individual colleges preference. But, in general you will meet with an admission professional on campus. They are trying to get to know more about you as a person, so I would suggest that you try to be yourself. Try to bring new information if possible and not talk about things that you detailed on your application because they will have most likely read your application already. In some cases you will meet with an alumni or student. These are really just about a feeling that the alumni or student gets. They won’t have read your application so you can talk about things that are already on your application. This is a time that it is ok to brag on yourself. Let them know why you are great and why you love their school. Do your research because all three options will know tons about the school.
Usually the interviewer will contact you first. When he/she does, be sure to email them back with a sentence or two about yourself, why you’re interested or excited about the school, and attach your resume, whether they ask for it or not. Include a note that says something like, “Attached, please find my resume for a little more information on what I’m interested in.” Don’t wait too long before responding–email or call them back within a day or so to show that you’re really excited about the school. And of course be on time, if not a little early. Remember the interview is just an opportunity for the school to get to know you a little bit better, it’s to put a face to an application. Sometimes, like over email, tone and enthusiasm and passion don’t come through the written word. Someone might have the most amazing resume, but have the blandest in-person personality on earth. The interviewer basically is trying to figure out whether they’d want to be classmates with you, if they were to go to college all over again. In a standard interview, they’ll ask you some questions about what you’re interested in, what motivates you, etc. But hopefully if it’s the right fit, it’ll be more like an easyflowing conversation rather than a pressured Q&A session. So–be confident and don’t be afraid to be yourself–everyone is interesting, so let it show.
You must schedule an interview at the admissions office in advance. You will then speak to an admissions officer for about half an hour. He or she will ask you questions about your experiences in school and with extra-curricular activities. You will also have a chance to ask any questions you have about the school and its admissions process. Then the officer will come out and speak with your parents and answer any questions they might have.
Some schools use college interviews as part of the selection process. If you want to ace your interview and get accepted into the college of your choice, it is a good idea to practice the interview beforehand. If possible, get a friend or family member to sit down with you for a practice college interview. This will get you used to asking and answering questions. College Interview Do’s
• Do your homework. Knowing as much as possible about the school will be a huge benefit.
• Do read a book and be prepared to comment on it. A common question asked during college interviews is “Have you read any good books lately?”
• Do dress professionally and conservatively.
• Do follow all of the standard rules of interviews, i.e. shake hands firmly, make eye contact, sit up straight, etc.
• Do show enthusiasm for the school and the program.
College Interview Don’ts
• Don’t expect to ace your interview if you haven’t prepared properly.
• Don’t be late. Instead, show up several minutes early.
• Don’t sit there and wait for questions to be asked. Engage your interviewer, by asking your own questions.
• Don’t try to be someone else. This is the biggest mistake most applicants make during college interviews. Be yourself.
• Don’t forget to send a thank you note.
Some colleges don’t have any, but for those that do they must be arranged in advance. There are: on campus, off campus, interviews w/alums, students, and/or admissions staff. It is highly advisable to have one so as to present yourself in person, rather than just as a series of numbers and statements. The interview can be a make or break situation, so it is advisable to do interview w/an expert in the field. I could write a book about what follows (actually it’s part of a chapter in my book), but that’s for a consultation – brief (free) or otherwise.
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