What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

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.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Practice. Have somebody ask you common questions to help you think about how you would answer and get comfortable articulating them.

Ronald Harris

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Know as much about yourself and the university as possible.

Heather Tomasello
Writing Coach The EssayLady, LLC

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

The most important tip for the college interview is- plan 3 things in advance that you want to touch on. What are 3 things you want the interviewer to know about you? These may be accomplishments, activities, unusual facts, etc. Thinking of these in advance will help you steer the interview, and you want to be in the driver's seat. This also helps if the interviewer asks generic questions like, "Tell me about yourself," or "What would you like for Yale admissions to know about you?" Select three strong qualities or accomplishments and emphasize them so that after the interview, your interviewer will remember you by them. "That was the girl who spent the summer volunteering at a clinic in the Philippines." Or, "That was the guy who's been swimming competitively since he was nine." Or whatnot. Planning your 3 things in advance will also help you fight off nerves about the interview. You got this.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents Countdown to College Coach

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Best tip: be yourself. Don't try to impress with big words or philosophical statements. Let the admissions officer know your interest in the school and ask intelligent questions (not ones you can find in the college's pamphlets or on their website). Do your research before you go. Be polite, dress appropriately, and send a thank you email afterwards.

Andrew Belasco
CEO College Transitions LLC

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

For many applicants, the prospect of meeting face-to-face with an admissions officer can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. With good preparation and a sound understanding of the process, you can ace your interview and leave a positive, lasting impression with your potential colleges. Here’s what you should know about the college interview: 1. Schedule your interview early. Since appointments tend to fill up quickly, especially during the height of application season, you should schedule an interview with your prospective school’s admissions office at least four weeks prior to your planned date of arrival. 2. Meet with your rep. If offered an admissions interview, request to meet with the representative who is assigned to your high school or region, as he or she will most likely be the one evaluating your application. 3. Know your school. Peruse your prospective school’s website, particularly the pages of the site that focus upon your areas of interest. Learn about the courses, professors, and extracurricular activities from which you would benefit if offered admission. If you can demonstrate knowledge of the college’s offerings, your admissions officer is more likely to regard you as a serious and genuinely interested candidate. 4. Come prepared. Before the interview, make sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, your resume or student activities sheet, and a list of any standardized test scores. This information will allow your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances of admission, as well as offer any advice that he or she may have on how to improve your application. During the interview, be prepared to discuss your courses, your extracurricular experiences, and your reasons for applying to the college (and be specific!). Here are some questions that you may encounter on interview day: • Why are you interested in our college? • What can you contribute to our campus? • What do you consider your strengths? • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? • If you could change one thing about your current school, what would it be? • Whom do you consider your role model(s)? Why? • What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? • What do you like to do for fun? • Describe a challenge that you have overcome? • What is your favorite book? Why? You should also come with several questions of your own that will help you to learn more about the college and simultaneously demonstrate to your rep that you have done your college research. Here are some questions that you might consider asking: • What is your average class size? For freshman? For upperclassmen? • Is there opportunity for independent study and/or research? • Do you offer academic support services? • How many students study abroad? Pursue internships? • Can you speak about the career placement and graduate school placement of your recent graduates? • What distinguishes your college from other comparable colleges? 5. Practice makes perfect. If possible, attempt to simulate the conditions that you will encounter on interview day. Solicit help from a friend or relative who is willing to play the role of interviewer and who is also comfortable enough to critique your performance. Finding a good practice partner will enable you to discover and subsequently improve upon weaknesses in your interview technique. As you practice responding to the above questions, avoid the temptation to memorize or script your answers. The best interviews proceed like a good conversation, so be yourself and be sincere. 6. Remember etiquette. When the big day arrives, make sure you’re on time. Dress appropriately (business casual), shake hands, and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting; as presentation is also key to a successful interview. Finally, it’s important to realize that your admissions rep is just as anxious to impress you as you are to impress her. So, relax and use your college interview as an opportunity to enter into great conversation and to learn a bit more about your prospective school.

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.

Mollie Reznick
Associate Director The College Connection

It's all in how you present yourself

Focus first on how you look. There's no need to put on a suit and tie or dress (unless you really want to), but you should look neat and clean. How you look can have an immediate impact on how an admissions officer will perceive you. Answer all questions as honestly and articulately as you can (and keep the language clean!) Also, make sure to bring some questions of your own for your interviewer to show that you have a real interest in the school.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

Tips for acing the interview

- Follow my interview preparation tips. - Be on time. Turn off your cell phone and other electronics. - Dress appropriately. Boys should wear slacks (not jeans), a button down shirt or polo shirt tucked in with a belt, dress shoes or loafers with socks. Girls should wear a blouse (not low cut and not with spaghetti straps) with a skirt or pants (not jeans) and shoes. - Don't chew gum. - Shake hands firmly with the interviewer. - Listen carefully to what is being asked. - Speak clearly. - Share information that you want the interviewer to know about you. - Ask questions you have about the college - Smile and maintain eye contact during the interview. - Don't bring your parents to the interview. - Hand write a personal thank you note to the interviewer when you get home.

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.