The college interview should be taken very seriously and can be an important part of the college admissions process. Although all colleges do not require an interview and some do not even offer the opportunity to interview, it is important to know that many colleges do require an interview and many others make an optional interview available to applicants. This article focuses on the ways to prepare for the college interview so that students can fully utilize the interview opportunity.
If you are given the opportunity to interview, either on campus or with an admission representative in your geographic area, take it! The interview allows you to ask questions and get a better sense of whether the college is right for you AND it allows the college representative to get a sense of what you are all about! Your interviewer will certainly expect that you will ask questions about the school, thus you should have a list of questions prepared. Please be sure to ask questions that can not be easily answered by looking at the college catalog or college website. You want to demonstrate that you are digging deep and are interested in determining that the college is a good fit so prepare a list of creative and thoughtful questions.
Your interviewer will also want to hear from you about the reasons that the college appeals to you and ulitmately why you want to go there. Beforehand, you should think about why the particular school appeals to you and how studying at that school fits into your eduacational and career plans. Perhaps mention your area of study, your career aspirations, or a faculty member that you are interested in taking courses with or landing an intership.
Being interviewed, whether for a job or for college admission, will require significant practice so that you are prepared. Have a parent, friend, teacher, or sibling sit down with you and ask you some questions. Answer the questions honestly and take the practice session seriously. A practice interview is the perfect opportunity to really polish your responses so that your answers flow well during a real interview. Of course, you never really know what questions you will be asked during an interview, but it does help to prepare. Below are some sample questions that may prove helpful as you prepare for your college interview:
* Tell me about yourself?
* What is it about this college that interests you?
* What are your career plans after you graduate from college?
* Who is your hero or someone who has inspired you?
* How did you decide on your anticipated major?
* What are your interests outside of school?
* What activities would you like to participate in on campus?
* Do you work and if so how has your work experience prepared you for college?
* Can you tell me about one of your favorite books that you read in the last year?
* What do you think you will be doing ten years from now?
* Tell me about your high school experience?
* Have you ever needed to overcome a challenge?
* Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
* What else can I tell you about this college?
Those are just a few questions to get you thinking about your interview. Practice! Practice! Practice! In addition, be honest and as relaxed as possible. In addition to preparing verbally for an interview, you also want to prepare your “look” for the interview as well. Dress appropriately and neatly. In addition to professional dress, make sure your hair and nails are neat. Be confident, polite, and of course remember to smile!
You’ll get better and better at interviewing the more that you do. Sometimes it is good to interview first at a college that you are least excited about. That way you can go through the process at a school that may not be at the top of your list. You’ll become more and more comfortable after you do a few interviews. Typically interviews are scheuduled for either a half or full hour time slot.
At the end of your interview, be sure to reiterate your interest in the college and thank the interviewer for their time. In addition, follow up with an email or a hand written thank you note card. Be sure to express your thanks for their time and perhaps something specific that you learned in the interview that will be helpful to you. You want the interviewer to remember you so take time in writing a well-polished note.
Remember to be yourself, take a deep breath, and practice beforehand so that the college interview is a success!
Getting into college is just one step in the college process! Paying for college is also a huge part of the college experience. For up-to-date financial aid and college financing information, check out the newly updated financial aid book entitled Financial Aid Sense. Financial Aid Sense is a practical guide about financial aid and college financing and is a vital read for anyone needing to pay for college.
For additional information about preparing for college visits, check out our article entitled Preparing for College Campus Visits.