What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

The student should probably address this question as the sum of his or her passions and strengths. After a brief introduction of the student to the interviewer (as this question is likely to come up early in the interview), the student should be prepared with which passions and strengths he or she is going to relay to the interviewer. By emphasizing these items, the student will improve his or her comfort level with the interview process and project positively to the interviewer. The student will be more relaxed the more he talks about himself or herself. Once relaxed, the real personality of that candidate is able to shine through. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for the student to have at least a few passions and interests ready to speak about before setting foot in the interview. Interviewers may not ask a question as open ended as "Tell me about yourself?" Still, they want to get to know a student and verify his or her suitability to the particular college.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Don't Rehash Your Resume

This is your chance to step beyond the four corners of your application! If you want to talk about your grades and school activities because you feel that they accurately reflect your true and unique characteristics -- then go for it. But if you feel that you are so much more than that -- feel free to share your outside interests, interesting experiences, your family life, your part-time job, etc. You might be an avid reader or a huge fan of movies. You might have a lucrative babysitting business. You might have an impressive collection of rocks! Talk about those things! They make you --- YOU! Remember -- the interview isn't about an academic evaluation -- it's to evaluate your suitability as a roommate and classmate!

Helen Cella

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

Talk about your academics, interests and community service.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Where do I begin

If someone asks you to tell them about yourself, please have a Reader's Digest Condensed Version response ready. This is where it pays to be prepared. You don't want to miss an opportunity to share something and if you haven't thought ahead, you just might. They aren't asking you to go back to the day you were born. Rather, they are interested in the recent past and your dreams/plans for the future. Feel free to include some humor in the conversation and not come across all grim and stressed. They want to see the real you, not some artificial version you've pulled out just for the interview. Be yourself, that's who needs to "fit" at the school and they're the ones who will be deciding.

Nicholas Umphrey

About you..

In just about any interview situation, this questions is always the "lead off hitter." I always thought about my answer to this one one the car ride to the interview since nobody else was with me, I was comfortable talking to myself. They want to know the basics: who are you? Your backgorund, interests, passions, and goals.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

Discuss your favorite class or teacher. Talk about how you enjoy spending your time outside of your studies. Have you read an interesting article or book that you can discuss intelligently with the interviewer? What is your favorite extracurricular activity and why do you enjoy it so much? Don't be arrogant--be interesting and interested. As the interviewer about himself as well.

Wendy Kahn
Principal Wendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC

Be ready with examples of ways you'll contribute to life on campus

Take the college's perspective. They're looking for applicants who will contribute to life on campus and who are a fit for the school. What might they be looking for in an applicant? What qualities do you bring? How did you affect your high school or local community and how will you benefit the college? Have a few memorable stories ready -- actual examples to show your interests or activities. Have you led the debate team? Helped run a charity drive? Started a marine biology club? You’re on a campaign to persuade someone why you would benefit the school.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Tell me about yourself?

This question does catch many off guard because they began to give their life stories...do not make that mistake. The question should be answered from the vein of what your interviewing for...to enter colllege (academic information), for a job (work experience and special work related talents), for a scholarship (answers should relate to the mission of the scholarship). Leave your personal life personal.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

BE READY FOR THIS QUESTION. Practice your answer in advance, because it will be asked of you at some point during a college interview. Think about who you are, what your interests are, what type of personality you have. Tell me about yourself: " I am a happy person and love to meet new people ", or " I am a quiet person who enjoys learning and studying" or " I am passionate about stray and neglected animals, I guess you could say I am very compassionate." Think about this question, and talk to yourself about who you are and what you do so you are prepared.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What are the best ways to answer the question: Tell me about yourself?

Be honest. You are human. You have strengths and weaknesses--talk about them. Some of them are already apparent from other parts of the application process, but the interview allows you to expand upon them, and to put a human face on all that you have previously submitted. Talk about the people, the things, and the experiences that are and have been important to you. Share your passion and let the interviewer know what matters to you. Doing it all in a comparatively concise, but clear way allows the interview to serve as a window into who you are so they can see what you can bring to their school community.