What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Cat McManus
Assistant Dean of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Here is my video response to the question.

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Here is my video response to the question.

Lily Trayes
Founder and CEO Ivy League Placement

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Here is my video response to the question.

Jenny Rickard
Chief Enrollment Officer Bryn Mawr

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

The importance of the college admissions interview and how to ace it

So you've been asked to interview at the college of your dreams? Great. Or is it? A college interview offers applicants an opportunity to personalize the application. Meeting in person and wowing an admissions officer with a compelling personality will prove that the applicant will add a positive dynamic to the campus. Proof of how a student will participate in class, interact with classmates and forge ahead with new ideas for on-campus organizations may qualify a student for admission much more than a test score or GPA. During the college interview the applicant learns more about the school in addition to putting a name to a face. An interview – in most cases – will “seal the deal”. Of course, sometimes this can be for the better and others it is for the worse. College interviews vary as greatly as colleges do, and the particulars might find you interviewing with an admissions officer, a current student, or an alumnus. Sometimes schools have very informal interviews that resemble group information sessions with a question and answer session afterwards. Even individual interviews can be “informational” or “evaluative”. The latter are the ones that count in the admissions process. No matter what, during an interview the applicant must serve as their own best advocate. If you do not adequately represent yourself, then who will? Following are a few tips to remember during an interview: Be yourself. The is the most important advice in the entire admissions process. Do not memorize a speech that you think people might "want to hear” - make yourself appealing and not robot-like. Remember to stay professional, but not stiff. Know the school. Study the information about the school. Make sure you know that the school has an MBA program before you ask the dean of admissions how about the competitiveness of the MBA program. This benefits you in two ways: you learn about the college and you can ask informed questions during the interview. Review your application materials. Make sure that if you wrote about learning how to ride a horse in your application essay, that you actually do know how to ride a horse in case the person you are interviewing with happens to be a big equestrian. Be prepared to answer and ask questions. Be sure to prepare for questions that identify key topics or experiences that are important to you. Consider some of your favorite experiences, activities or plans. If you've identified your own "hit list," you'll easily recall them when asked. In addition, use your "hit list" to ask the interviewer questions about the campus, classes, and their experiences at the school. This makes the interview a learning experience for you, shows that you are interested in learning more about the school, and sets the tone for a conversation rather than a question and answer session. Set yourself up for success. Prepare yourself just as you would for a job interview: dress properly, do not use excessive slang or profanity, hold yourself with dignity and never be late! Follow up. As the interview concludes, firmly shake interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time. Mail a follow up thank you card and include an anecdote that will remind the interviewer about you. This small gesture can set you apart.

Susan Weber

Prepare!

Probably the best way you can be sure to keep things moving positively at your interview is to have prepared a few questions in advance. Take the time to perform detailed research about the school and its majors, clubs, etc. so that you can ask something based on your interests and accomplishments rather than a question addressed on the college's home page.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.
College and Career Counselor Air Academy High School

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

I think the biggest tip for acing the interview is just being yourself. They wouldn't be wasting their time if they weren't interested in you. Don't be so caught up in the perfect answer, that you stop being yourself. Obviously go in prepared, well-dressed, and a little bit of nervousness is fine. Practice frequently asked interview questions with a teacher, counselor, parent, or friend. But remember a college interview can only help you, it won't hurt you.

Mandy Reilly
Counselor

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Be prepared, learn as much as you can about the college and the program of study that you are applying to in advance. it is perfectly acceptable for you to bring notes with you to jog your memory and prompt your questions. Be prepared to talk in detail about some of your long term and short term academic and career goals. Be prepared to ask good questions about the academics, the culture the environment, the student body, employment outlook for graduates in your major. Sometimes your questions are weighed even more heavily in the decision process than your answers . Take it seriously, make a good impression by arriving on time, looking polished, demonstrating that you are a serious studdent and asking relevant questions. Try to relax, while you do want to take it seriously, and present yourself in a good light, make sure you take care of yourself. Take three deep breaths before you start and remember to continue to breath as you converse. Try as much as possible to forgive yourself if you make a mistake. Keep your sense of humor! Most of all, remember, just as you are being interviewed, you are doing some interviewing too. College match is a two way street. Remember, you are screening for a qualified college and program just as they are screening for qualified students.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Some things to consider in preparing for the college interview: - Get a good night's sleep the night before, and have a good breakfast that morning. (You don't want to be tired and grumpy.) - Research the relevant college ahead of time, so that you can respond knowledgeably about why the school is of interest to you. Be able to express why you want to go to that particular school. (Have some good reasons.) - Think about yourself. Consider what you can offer the school, as well as what the school can offer you. (Just as you are looking for a school that is a good fit for you, schools are looking for students who will be successful additions to their college communities.) - Dress comfortably and neatly - not sloppy, but also not TOO dressed up. (You want to be your usual well-groomed self.) - Give the interviewer a firm handshake. Make good eye contact. (This will not only give you the appearance of confidence, it will actually make you FEEL more confident.) - Consider carefully questions that are posed. Think about what you want to say before you start answering. (You don't want to find yourself going in a direction that doesn't make sense.) - Remember to breathe, and try not to babble or ramble. (If you find yourself speaking too fast, repeating yourself, or saying things that are totally irrelevant, stop and take a breath before going ahead in a more controlled way.) - If you don't understand a question, ask for further clarification. (Don't try to answer a question that you don't yet understand.) - Be relaxed. Enjoy having the focus of attention on you. (It's not often that you have a chance to be the whole center of attention. This is one of those times.) - Try to feel that you are having a discussion with a friend. (How successfully you will be able to do this will, of course, also depend on the skills of the interviewer.) These tips should take you a long way toward having a successful interview experience.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

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.