With schools that are concerned about how you might fit into the culture, a face-to-face interview gives admissions the best insight into you as a person: Why you want to attend the school, what you want do while you're there, and how you rank it on your school list.
Don’t freak out over the college interview. We know being put in front of a stranger that can affect your dream school hopes is stressful. It doesn’t need to be though, as long as you approach it with focus and a game plan.
What are they looking for?
Intellectual promise, motivation & energy level, personality & sense of humor, independence & leadership, interest in the college & your knowledge about it, and how well you prepared for the interview.
The 9-Point Plan
Below is an outline for how to prepare for any interview:
- Be Yourself
Have a personality (preferably yours); show enthusiasm; be confident.
- Application Knowledge
Know your application and resume inside and out. Reply with 100% honesty on all content.
- Be Remembered
Your goal is to be remembered. Be professional, dress for success, dress your documents for success, be proud of your accomplishments.
Introduce yourself by shaking hands with each person as you say something like..."I am very glad to meet you, thank you for this opportunity" (say it only once). As you answer specific questions, eye contact is important.
Never answer just "yes" or "no" to any question. Always expand your answer. Try to keep answers between a minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 3 minutes.
- Follow Instructions
Usually, the interviewer will guide you as you enter, follow instructions. Again, shake hands, etc. first before you take a seat. They might initiate the handshake, or not. If not... you initiate.
Remember, you are also trying to get information about the company or college. Ask questions during the interview at appropriate times. Certainly, ask your questions at the end of the interview if you did not have an opportunity along the way.
- The Close
Shake hands; thank them for the interview as you do so; smile; use direct eye contact again. Have a closing remark prepared such as, "Thank you very much for interviewing me, I hope you will consider my application favorably (for employment or for college attendance)."
- The Follow Up
Send a thank-you note (an email is fine). If there's something about the interview that was helpful to you, let your interviewer know. If you connected with your interviewer over a book, common experience, or a band you’re both into, then mention it! Otherwise, simply express your continued interest in the school and thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.
- Be Yourself
The Possible Questions You May Be Asked
Below are some potential questions that may be asked. Review these and know the answers before you are in the interview.
- Tell us about yourself.
Know your resume.
- What is your greatest strength/weakness?
Be able to site two strengths and one weakness and then spin the weakness.
- What are your future career goals?
Include your category in this goal.
- Which colleges are you interested in? What is your intended major?
Be honest, state facts about colleges you have been accepted to or have applied.
- Tell us about a mistake you have made.
Can be category specific or general and then spin.
- In which activities are you involved?
Top two category specific and important general.
- Tell me about a personal achievement.
Category specific or important general.
- Where do you see yourself in 5/10/20 years.
Include category if possible.
- Who is your role model.
Name a specific person and include why.
- Tell me about a leadership experience
Category specific if possible.
- Is there anything you would like to add.
What do you want them to know?
- Tell us about yourself.
Potential Questions You May Ask
Write your questions on a note card so you won't be nervously trying to remember them and so you will look incredibly prepared! Your most important questions should reveal something about you.
- What would you say are the special features of this college that distinguish it?
- How is experiential education incorporated into the curriculum?
- Are students politically active?
- Are students concerned with global issues?
- How would you describe the student who is a great fit for this college?
- What do students love best about this college?
- What have been the burning issues on campus this past year?
- Why do students leave this college?
- What are the most common student complaints?
- How are the town-gown relationships?