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Ace Your College Interview

Interviews are a standard component of the admissions process at many colleges and universities. Colleges want to ensure that the students selected are a good fit for the school, and that can be difficult to glean solely from a transcript or set of test scores. Interviews give universities the opportunity to meet applicants/prospective students who they are considering for merit scholarship awards. Relying on this process gives an individual at the university the final say regarding your admittance into the institution, rather than the admissions department. For knock-out interviewees, the opportunity to meet with a department head or chair will be greatly beneficial to boost their chances for admittance or receive a scholarship.

Don’t be intimidated if a college requests an interview. It is a required step in the admissions process that will help ensure you’ve settled upon your best college option. Here are some things to consider before your interview:

Dress Professionally

First impressions are everything. Dressing the part indicates that you are taking the admissions process seriously and affirms that you have a vested interest in the outcome of the interview. Like the saying goes, dress the part.

Have a Positive Attitude

It is important that you enter the interview with a positive attitude. After all, preparation for college can be an exciting process, and the facilitator expects that your attitude will reflect that. It is easy to misunderstand interviews as a way of catching your flaws. Not so. Colleges want you as a positive addition to their institution, and as such, they are simply trying to see what you can offer.

Let the Facilitator Lead the Discussion

Allowing the facilitator to take the lead will lift a lot of the pressure on your shoulders. You might attend one or two college interviews; the facilitator on the other hand, has probably participated in hundreds and knows exactly what questions to ask. Typically, interviews are used to gauge your level of interest in their institution.

Share Your High School Experience

When you discuss your high school experience, speak of your interest and disinterests. Emphasize the most positive aspects of your education, but don’t hesitate to be forthright about the negatives. Colleges are looking to add observant, articulate, and opinionated young adults to their campuses. Providing a detailed and poignant description of your academic experience will be largely beneficial. This is also the appropriate time to discuss extracurricular activities, sports, and personal interests that you have developed and pursued throughout the past few years.

Ask Questions

There is no better way to express your interest in a college than by asking questions. Make sure that you research the college heavily before the interview to develop appropriate, sincere questions. This is the part of the interview that is most beneficial to you: ask the right questions and find out what the college can offer you.

Last Reviewed: February 2017

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