Top 10 Tips for Nailing Your College Admission Interview
Does the idea of a college admission interview give you anxiety? You're not alone!
92% of adults report anxiety over formal interviews. While this is based on the job interview process, school interviews aren't much different.
While interviews are important for creating a good first impression, they don't have to be an anxiety-inducing process. By following these ten interview tips, you will be able to get through the process with minimal stress. Plus, you will be ahead of many of the adults out there trying to hone their interviewing skills.
Some Notes About the Admission Interview
Not all colleges will require an interview. The colleges that do require an interview want to make sure there is a mutual benefit to admitting you. They want to know what makes you a good fit for their campus, and what makes their campus a good fit for your goals.
This is the same process as a job interview. In fact, college interviews can be good practice for your future job interviews. If you will take the time to learn from the process, you will already be ahead of the game when it comes time to start your career.
Ten Tips for the College Admission Interview
Practice, Practice, Practice
Interviewing is a skill that you can learn. Practicing with a friend or parent can help you feel more comfortable with the process.
Preparing yourself for likely questions is an important part of practicing. While you don't want to sound rehearsed or robotic, you do want to know what to expect.
Most interviews will include some version of the following questions:
- Tell me more about yourself.
- How is college important for your goals?
- What made you interested in this college?
- Who do you most admire?
- What are your hobbies or other interests?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you a good starting point.
Practice also includes getting comfortable with the idea of talking about yourself. During a college admission interview, they will want to learn as much as possible about you. By practicing, you can learn to share the most important information about yourself and how you will fit in with your preferred college.
Dress for Success
The dress code for your admissions interview will largely depend on the atmosphere of the college you plan to attend. That being said, erring on the side of caution by adopting a business casual style is always a safe bet.
What is business casual?
For men, this means a long-sleeved, collared button down shirt with dress pants and well-kept dress shoes.
For women, this means a nice blouse with dress pants or a skirt. This can also mean a well-fitted dress. Just make sure dresses or skirts are not too short. Women should also wear well-kept dress shoes, though be careful with too high heels.
Business casual also means minimum accessories and minimum scent. You don't want to distract the interviewer's attention from what you have to say.
Be on Time
To insure that you're on time for your college admission interview, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This allows for any delays such as traffic or locating the proper office.
Being on time to a formal interview is important as it proves your interest. Being on time also shows you aren't wasting the interviewers time.
Showing respect for the interviewers time is part of making that good first impression.
Be Friendly and Approachable
Another aspect of making a good first impression is being approachable during the admission interview. Being nervous is not a good excuse to be withdrawn.
As soon as you enter the office, go up to the interviewer. Smile as you shake their hand. Use your manners.
- Say nice to meet you.
- Say please and thank you where appropriate.
- Ask how they are doing.
While the interview is about getting to know you, it won't do you any favors to not show attention to the interviewer.
Smiling naturally is also a good idea. Don't be creepy, but show you're friendly with smiles at appropriate times. Laughing at jokes will also make you more approachable and break the ice.
Be Informed About the School
The interviewer will want to know what interests you about the school. Do your research so you can answer these questions.
Make sure you know what programs they provide, or what clubs and extracurricular activities are available.
This will also be helpful when it comes time to ask your own questions. You don't want to ask a question already answered on their website.
Being informed about the school will show your interest.
Be Prepared with Your Own Questions
Another way to show your interest is to come prepared with questions (that haven't already been answered elsewhere).
Do you know what your major will be? Ask questions about that particular program.
Ask questions about clubs you're interested in, about projects you can get involved with, even about honor societies available.
Show your excitement and your desire to know more about the college during the admission interview. This will make you more desirable to the school.
Brag About those Accomplishments
While modesty is an admirable quality, the college admission interview is not the time for modesty. The interviewer wants to know how you will benefit the school. This is the time to toot your own horn!
Have you won any awards?
Did you establish any clubs at your current school? Did you do any volunteer work? Or show an entrepreneurial spirit?
Share these things with the interviewer. Bring your awards or pictures of them with you.
Show off what makes you special. Make them excited about you.
Be creative with what you share. It doesn't have to be school related. Any experience you have that you think makes you stand out is fair game here.
Be Concise but Informative
There are two things you want to avoid during the interview:
- Rambling on with no clear answers
- Yes or no answers
You want to hit a good middle ground with your answers. This means providing detailed answers that get to the point.
The admission interview will have a set time. The interviewer will likely have a set number of questions they want to get through.
You want to give enough information to show them who you are without taking up all the time on one or two questions.
Be the Best Version of Yourself
The interviewer will want to get to know who you are, and they will likely be able to tell if you are fake. Chances are, they will have done some preliminary research on you before the interview.
To make the interview as comfortable as possible, be yourself. Show them who you really are not who you think they want you to be.
If you have to pretend to be something else to get in, that probably wasn't the school for you anyway.
While you want to show them the real you, you want to remember this is a professional setting. While being comfortable is good, don't get so comfortable you forget where you are.
Be yourself on your best manners.
Do Follow Up
The admission interview process doesn't end with the end of the interview. Remember, you want to show them how excited you are to be part of their school. This will require some follow up on your part.
The best way to show your excitement is to send a thank you email. You will want to send the thank you within 24 hours of the interview. It doesn't have to be elaborate.
The point is to keep your interview in their mind. Remind them of important points from the interview. Thank them for their time and any advice they gave during the interview.
Show the interviewer their time was valuable to you.
Standing Out in the College Admission Interview
By following these interview tips, you will be able to stand out from the other students interviewed during admissions season.
Having stellar accomplishments will also help your college admission interview stand out. One way to beef up your accomplishments is to join an honor society to show your dedication to academics.
For more information about how Honor Society could help you with the admission process, contact us today.