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:

Originality
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.

Admissions Interviews

A college admissions interview can be an intimidating part of the college application process. Most students will be able to relax and do their best when they realize that an interview is just one part of your complete package and just as much about giving you a chance to ask questions as it will be about the college asking questions to you.

Preparing for the Interview
Before the interview, be sure that you know a little about the school so that you can sound well-informed and ask the right questions. Come with a few questions already in your head so you will have something ready when the admissions officer asks if you have any questions for him or her.

You will want to make a good impression from the very second you walk into the interview and that begins with being properly dressed, business casual attire will be right for most admissions interviews. Have a few copies of your resume on hand, as well as a notepad and pen in case you need to write anything down. When you meet the interviewer, be polite and professional, a good handshake will get things off to a good start.

Answering Questions
Be courteous and engaging when you answer questions and try to make eye contact with your interviewer. You can be funny and personable in the interview, this is a chance to show the college admissions office what sets you apart from other applicants. Use your responses to highlight your strengths and offer them insights into your academic record, interests, and best qualities that may not be evident from your written application. This is not the time for modesty, be sure to emphasize your successes and show them what you would bring to their school. Be sure to think through your answers and avoid “umms”, “likes”, and other filler words that can creep into conversation when you’re nervous.

After the Interview
Send a thank you note to the person with whom you interviewed. This is another chance to get your name in front of him or her and be sure you have made the best impression possible. If you think of questions later, don’t hesitate to contact that person again if they have said that they will be available to you throughout the process. Well thought-out questions will show your interest in the school and that you have done your homework.

A college admissions interview is a great opportunity to meet with someone from each of your top schools in a one-on-one setting. Learn the basics and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.


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