What are some tips for acing the college interview?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

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

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

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.

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.

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.

Scott Herrmann-Keeling
College Counselor

What are some tips for acing the college interview?

The most basic tip is Know what you want to say before you enter the interview. What is important for the interviewer to know about you? What are the three most important things s/he should learn? Odds are that opportunities to talk about these will occur naturally over the course of the conversation but if you hear some variation of "Is there anything else you'd like to add?" and you haven't had a chance to cover one of your major points, grab that opportunity before it passes! Another good tip is to practice so your responses are natural but not too polished. You don't want to sound like you've said the same thing 10 times before, but you do want to make sure you get your point across. Find a friend, a relative, or your college counselor and spend a few minutes making sure you are making the impression you want to make.

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.