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

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

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

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

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

There is no single thing that someone being interviewed must know. But you should always remember that regardless of the nature or reason for the interview, it offers an opportunity to enhance the impression and the understanding that the interviewer has of you. Whether it is an admissions interview, part of a scholarship competition, or for a job, whether the interview is being conducted by an alum, a professional, or a committee, the process offers you a chance to discuss the things that matter to you and to expand on some of the things you have previously shared in your application. Share your passions and let them know what matters to you. Show yourself to be a thoughtful individual who will be a positive addition to the community, someone worthy of the positive decision—be it for admission, a scholarship, or a job—that you seek.

Lynda McGee
College Counselor Downtown Magnets High School

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

The best interviews are conversations between two people who enjoy talking to each other. You need to give answers that include lots of details, but not so many that it is more like a long rambling essay. The best interviews involve you asking questions, too, and being genuinely interested in the answers. You will look happy to be there. You will lean slightly forward in your chair and you will not lean back with your arms folded as if you are protecting yourself from the interviewer. So you need to do a little homework, which will give you things to talk about. A period of silence of more than a few seconds will feel uncomfortable and tense. Also, be careful to not blurt out everything about yourself that doesn't really need telling. An interview in a local Starbucks is not the proper setting for talking about how you were molested as a child or that you sometimes cut yourself. Deal with these issues with a psychologist, not your interviewer. Be yourself, but please, your best self on a good day. That's who they want to meet.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

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

The more opportunities you have to be interviewed, the more comfortable you should become with the process. Interviewers are attempting you evaluate you as a person--are you someone they would like to spend time with on campus or in an office and how will you add to that college or place of employment. If you have the chance to have a "mock" or practice interview--take it!

Claire Law

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

Seven tips to help you win those supplemental scholarships and job interviews: At this time of year, seniors in high school who applied to college in the fall, (via an early action or early decision) may be considered by the colleges that accepted them for a variety of scholarships, especially if they ranked at the top of that college’s applicant pool. These supplemental scholarships are renewable for each of the four years of college, so they can add up to a nice amount. They often involve an additional resume and personal interview. The competition for these scholarships is keen. Here are a few tips to help those students who are in this situation and want to prepare themselves: 1. Review your resume and focus on giving detailed information about volunteer or leadership position you may have held. Colleges are increasingly paying attention to students’ ability to solve problems independently and motivate others. 2. Be sure to explain the hours per week and number of weeks per year that you participated in such activities. Colleges are interested in activities that mean a lot to you. They are not interested in whether you volunteered at the local soup kitchen for one afternoon, once every two years. They are interested in hearing where and why you have you committed a considerable amount of effort and how serious you were in those endeavors. 3. One way to recapture this information would be to re-use your Common Application activities list and clarify what you did during those activities. Usually, there is no limit to the pages you may submit so this is the place to explain what you accomplished. You can bet that the colleges and scholarship interviewers already have a copy of your Common Application, so you need to be ready to discuss it with any details listed on it. 4. More and more colleges value work you may have done for money. Whether you scooped ice-cream during the summer or babysat a neighbor’s child, be ready to talk about these activities. 5. Be sure to provide any information you feel will help the college get to know you better. 6. A common question they likely will ask: Why do you want to study business at our college? Be sure your answer passes the “global” test. In other words, if you can substitute another college’s name in your answer, you have not answered their question “Why us?” 7. Listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking. Rephrase their question to make sure you understand it. Take your time to answer it fully. Be ready with some questions of your own to ask them.

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.

Nicholas Umphrey

Have a goal for your interview

All interviewers are very good about feeling a person out. After all, they want to select the right person, that is their goal. Your goal, is to show why you are the right person. Teens and early adults often have difficulty with modesty, and are uncomfortable taking credit for their abilities and accomplishments. In cases like this, proudly own what is yours.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

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

Plenty! Like how to present your credentials, what 3 things you MUST bring to every interview, and why you're there in the first place!

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound


This question is very broad; however the basics are: 1) know background information on the entity the interview is for 2) practice interview skills with someone prior to the interview to gain feedback on presentation, disposition, appearance, communication skills, etc. 3) drive by or find the location of the interview ahead of time so that you are at a minimum 15 to 30 minutes early 4) present yourself kindly to all people you meet including the secretary and janitor; remember you are trying to get in and opinions matter even when you do not think so 5) dress appropriately - if you are not sure get help from a local source on business attire (not expensive clothing but professional dress) 6) follow up with a thank you note within a week of the interview