Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

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Our counselors answered:

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

While you may feel inclined to skip an interview because it’s optional, remember that you getting into their school or getting that job or scholarship is optional too. If you want them, make every effort and that includes the effort of preparation for an interview in this highly competitive environment. By doing the interview, at a minimum you show just how enthusiastic you are and in the best case, you make a phenomenal impression on someone at the school, job or scholarship. If you connect with the right person, they can really become your advocate.

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

To leave a favorable impression, definitely shake hands after the interview, but leave it at that! It is important that you “touch” the person and handshakes are truly the almost universally acceptable method. Many people, even those super warm folks, have a sense of personal space that would be invaded were you to hug them, so don’t risk it! Remember to express your gratitude, mention something you discussed, exchange handshakes, and announce your intentions for any future contact, such as hoping to see them at a new students or future alumni association event. Then, make your exit!

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

When it comes to deciding whether to send an email thank you and/or a snail mail one, you can do both, but be sure to send the e-mail later that day so the interviewer can reference it or incorporate their good feelings about you when they do their write-up. Leave as little to chance as possible, including making sure you have their email address if you wish to go that route. Make You can also ask how you might contact them in writing at the end of the interview, if it all will be arranged by phone. If you have additional information or a question or comment which relates to what you discussed, be sure to bring it up in the e-mail. If you later come across a clipping relating to the topic you discussed or feel the need to send a more formal acknowledgement, use a plain business-like note card and write legibly.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

I tell all my students that mastering the interview is a very important life skill. Students should know the answers to certain standard questions cold; these include strengths and weaknesses, special interests and why the school is right for him or her. That's no different from interviewing for a particular scholarship or job, is it? The student should come armed with knowledge about the prospective opportunity and have questions ready to ask the interviewer himself or herself. In these days of Internet research, it's inexcusable to not be prepared. Moreover, scholarship and job candidates have to be mature because they are being considered for a special opportunity. I tell all students to be polite, take notes, offer a firm handshake and ask for a business card. From college to career, interview skills are essential for today's rising professionals.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Good Conversation

A good interview -- whether it is for a college, job or scholarship -- is really a good and engaging conversation between two people. One person shouldn't be asking all of the questions, and one person shouldn't be sitting stiffly in the chair provided stilted one-word answers. An interview can provide information that leaps off the page -- you can really find out about a person's attitude, personality, and character when meeting him or her on a face-to-face basis. That's why interviews will never be replaced by email or text messages or even phone conversations! Nothing beats the face-to-face meeting.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Mock interview is recommended

have a list of subjects to discuss. Be short and precise. Practice mock interview with counselor or someone else. Show positive attitude and always bring your resume with you.

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Tips for Interview Success

1. Do your homework - Explore the school or employer website and literature. Take time to learn about specific aspects of the school or job that interest you. A great idea is to learn about what the faculty is researching in your intended major. Utilize this knowledge to ask intelligent questions in the interview. 2. Know basic information about your high school and/or past employers You will be asked about AP, IB, honors programs and other facts about your school. Be prepared to discuss previous job duties in a job interview. 3. What to wear? For college interviews wear casual but neat clothing such as kaki's and a polo shirt or button down shirt for guys, nice slacks with blouse or sweater for girls or a simple dress. For business interviews dress in professional attire which may include suit and tie or sport coats for guys, skirt or pants suit for women. 4. During the interview be honest in your answers and not afraid to say you don't know the answer or need additional time to think and get back to the interviewer. 5. Establish good eye contact and be aware of posture and body language. Smile. 6. Follow up with a thank you note or email

Brian D. Crisp
Founder and President Crisp Consulting + Coaching; Burton College Tours

Preparation is the Best Medicine

I love an aphorism and still live most of my life proclaiming that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine." This especially holds true for the college interview. Students should prepare and practice in the weeks prior to the scheduled interview. Preparation should include research specific to the school and should encompass facts found beyond the scope of the school's website. Find alumni and students currently of the school to gather information. Significant research will prevent an embarrassing mishap such as discussing an academic department or student club that does not exist. In addition, this research will allow you to form a list of substantive questions to ask of your interviewer. A question about a recent news item, faculty award or university event makes a positive impression. After your preparation, practice the interview. A list of common interview questions can be acquired in a guidance office or from an independent educational consultant. Rehearsing the event will allow you to release anxiety and stay clam on the interview day. Being prepared will assist a student in being confident and knowledgeable during the interview.

Helen Cella

Is there anything I need to know about interviews, not just for college, but for scholarships and jobs too?

Yes, do research. Don't ask any question that can be answered with information on the Internet.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Do your homework

When it comes to interviewing, it pays to be prepared. Not only do you need to anticipate the questions they may ask you, but you need to be ready with good questions for them. You need to dress for the occasion: business causal for college and scholarships, professional attire for jobs. Arrive on time, use a firm handshake, make eye contact, follow up with a thank you note. Be yourself, that's who they want/need to see. If the fit isn't right, better to find out sooner rather than latter.