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How to Nail Your College Interview

A college interview is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about a college and for you to strut your stuff and show the college why you are a perfect fit for their school. The key to nailing the interview and showing your interviewer how you will contribute to their school is preparation and practice.


How Do College Interviews Work?

Most colleges don’t require interviews but many offer the opportunity and recommend it. Interviews are usually conducted by an admissions officer, a current student, or an alumni representative. In 2020, almost every interview will be virtual on Zoom or Skype and allow you to be in the comfort of your own home.


Should I Interview Even Though It Is Not Required?

The answer to this is almost always yes. Unless you do something horribly wrong like being rude or inappropriate, an interview will only help you. It gives you the chance to show the college that you are genuinely interested in attending and to highlight who you are beyond your application.


TOP TIPS TO NAIL YOUR INTERVIEW


Zoom/Skype Like a Pro

Whatever technology platform you are using, make sure to know it well and that you have used it before. Be early and ready to rock before interview time. Wherever you are, make sure that you have privacy and won’t be interrupted.


Be Your Best

You don’t need to be dressed up but make sure to wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Be friendly, enthusiastic and have fun! Remember, your interviewer wants you to like them as much as you want them to like you.


Practice Makes Perfect

Before your interview, ask your parents, teacher, or college counselor to “mock interview” with you. Have them ask you interview questions and practice your answers. The more you practice, the better you’ll feel when it’s time for your actual interview.


Prepare for These Common Interview Questions


1. Why do you want to attend this college?

You will almost always be asked this question and it gives you the chance to show what you know. Talk about academic programs, classes, clubs, or extracurricular activities. Don’t talk about a school’s location, size, weather, or ranking.


2. Tell me about yourself.

Your interviewer really wants to know. That’s why you’re there. Be ready to talk about your hobbies, your passions, and what makes you unique. This is your time to shine and share what makes you special and what you are most proud of.


3. What do you do for fun?

Be honest and be specific. If you love to play tennis, tell your interviewer why and what you get out of it. Or if playing or listening to music is your passion, share your favorite kind of music and how you became interested in it. Try to avoid general generic answers like “I like to hang out with my friends.”


4. What do you want to major in?

Your interviewer wants to learn about your academic interests and goals and find out what you’re excited about. Share a subject that when you are studying it, you lose track of time and want to learn more. To prepare, think deeply about what you care about and what inspired your interest in it. How will this area of study help you achieve your goals?


5. Do you have any questions for me?

In addition to getting to show your interviewer how awesome you are, this is your opportunity to learn about the college. Your interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions for them. Be ready with three questions that show your interest in and curiosity about the college. Avoid generic questions that you could find answers to on the website like “ What is your average class size?” Think about genuine questions that you are really curious about based on something you have read on the college’s social media or heard about from a current student. Or ask your interviewer about their own experience at the college.


Get Excited

Many candidates are concerned about saying the wrong thing or about not seeming professional. As a result, they come across nice and safe, but vanilla. To stand out and wow your interviewer, be yourself, just your best self. The way to do this is to have done your homework and have researched the college. This way you will have the knowledge and the confidence to be smart and authentic, and show your genuine enthusiasm about the school.


Strut Your Stuff

The invitation to talk about yourself is your chance to wow. Take it and run with it! This is the time to tell your interviewer about your accomplishments, why you are excited about the college, and what you will contribute to their college community. If you are fluent in Chinese, a volunteer at a non-profit organization, or the best researcher you know, tell your interviewer, loud and proud. But as you do this, stay focused on your objective. Be specific and explain how all of your amazing accomplishments, attributes, and experiences make YOU someone who will make an impact in their college community.


Thank You

Make sure to email a thank you note to your interviewer as soon as possible after the interview, ideally the same day. The note can be short and simple but should be sincere and specific. Be enthusiastic and gracious, letting your interviewer know how much you enjoyed your meeting and reference one or two details from your conversation. Remind them how excited you are about their college!


For help preparing for your college interviews or support in any part of your college admissions process, contact us at info@interviewmama.com


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