The College Interview Process

College Interview

Some colleges require an admissions interview before final admission is granted. Interviews may occur on campus, by telephone or through scheduling a visit to your home. If your school doesn’t require an interview, they may simply lack the resources to make appointments with every candidate. Generally, unless you are applying for scholarships or seeking admission at a top-tier school, the interviewing process is optional.
Candidates that are selected for interviews should prepare appropriately. If your grades are lacking, you can significantly improve your chances of admission by impressing the interviewer with your communication skills. For applicants with excellent grades, test scores and essays the interview process will not be weighed as heavily as the application will speak for itself.
Dress appropriately and avoid dressing casually. Men should wear a suit and tie when possible or dress pants and a dress shirt at the minimum. Women should wear a dress or a pantsuit and appropriate shoes. It’s important to avoid dressing informally. Don’t be embarrassed about dressing up for an interview. It’s better to look too well-dressed than sloppy.
Arrive early and figure out the location of the interview, how long it will take you to get there and plan on arriving 10 minutes early. If you are too early, it may create awkwardness if the interviewer isn’t yet ready for you. Arriving late will reflect badly on you and force the interviewer to conduct a condensed and hurried interview.

College Interview:

College Prep Tip:

Prepare and Ask Questions

When you enter the room for the interview, make sure to introduce yourself and shake the hand of the interviewer. Ask permission to sit if the interviewer doesn’t tell you to sit down within a few moments.
The interviewer will begin by asking you questions. Be prepared to talk about your extra-curricular activities, life goals, intended major and why you feel this particular college is right for you. Avoid providing generic explanations. If you can show the interview that you have some knowledge of the school and an understanding of why it is a good fit, your chances of getting accepted will increase dramatically.
Once the interviewer has finished asking you questions, it is your chance to ask him a few questions. Keep it to two or three questions that can’t easily be found with a quick search on the Internet or through the school website. If you ask questions that can easily be answered with a visit to the college homepage, it will appear that you haven’t given much specific thought to the college.

College Interview Tip:

 Mock Interviews
Nobody expects you to walk into an interview for the first time and conduct yourself perfectly. Interviewing takes practice. Ask a close friend, parent, family member or teacher to help you prepare for the interview. Take the interview seriously, practice the initial entrance, dress appropriately and practice thinking before you speak. It is okay to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts before answering. Thinking about your responses shows the interview you are intentional and careful with your statements.
When possible, record the interview so that you can watch your mannerisms and improve. While you can ask the person conducting the mock interview about anything that went poorly, seeing yourself in action helps you to see your weaknesses and improve. Avoid interjection words such as “like” or “um.” Instead, try and use transitional words, such as “therefore,” “additionally” or “however.”

College Interview Tip:

Avoid turning your personality into a caricature of your true self. Interviewers are skilled at knowing when a person is just acting the part. If you aren’t a good match for the school, don’t force yourself on a school. Be yourself so that you have a fair chance of determining if the school is a good match for your personality. Most importantly, enjoy the interview process. Interject subtle yet appropriate humor if it seems appropriate. Conversely, if the interviewer is all business, avoid making jokes, since the interviewer may feel you are not taking the interview seriously.

College Interview Tip:

Schedule Wisely
Arrange your schedule so that the first interviews are with the schools that you won’t be upset if you don’t get accepted to. However, avoiding scheduling interviews with schools just to gain practice. Instead of wasting people’s time, you can get interviewing help with the local employment office or with the help of your friends and family. Interviews may last from 15 minutes to an hour or more. Don’t make any plans for immediately before or after the interview.

College Interview Tip:

Thank the Interviewer
Shake the hand of the interviewer when the interview concludes. The next day, send a thank you note as a follow-up. The interviewer may appreciate the extra consideration and it gives you a chance to show your interest in the school one last time. Be professional and express your gratefulness for his time and your continued interest in the school. Do not send gifts since they may be misconstrued as a bribe.

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