Christian colleges, whether it is a private Christian college or an accredited Christian university, conduct and value admission interviews for many reasons. There is a strong desire for admissions staff to build relationships with prospective students and their families. Our purpose, through asking questions and listening, is to help prospective students discover and articulate their gifts and talents. In this, we try to clean up the “clutter” in their minds by helping them focus on what’s important.
When you are preparing for a college admissions interview, be ready to talk about yourself by describing who you are and what you want to accomplish. It is also important to encourage parents or guardians to visit with you. Many counselors simply assist families by walking them through the admissions and financial aid process, explaining details, providing college admission advice, and answering questions along the way. However, we look to approach the interview in a way that will leave prospective students feeling good about themselves and the institution, while adding value to their lives. It is not about selling the institution, but rather helping the college-bound student get excited about who they are and how the institution can help them attain their goals. Prospective students are more accepting of the college when they see how the experience and programs will meet their needs, satisfy their wants, and solve their problems.
In addition to identifying goals, the college admissions interview should map out the logistics of the college search process. Some information that students will gain from the admissions interview would include:
- Assessing how the institution can help the student attain their goals
- Evaluating their academic capabilities
- Finding an adequate “college fit” based on their needs, desires, and gifts
- Learning about admission requirements and timeline
- Considering the cost versus value added
- Gathering information on financial aid/scholarships, residence life, and student life
Students should be better equipped to differentiate among institutions after they have completed the visiting process.
It is also helpful for students who are investigating colleges/universities to be prepared for an admissions interview before they visit. Here are some tips to keep in mind before visiting:
- Arrive on time
- Dress comfortably but appropriately
- Research the institution before the visit
- Prepare a list of questions regarding your interests
- Encourage a parent or guardian to attend the visit with you
- Come prepared to build a relationship
After leaving the institution, journal your thoughts on how you felt while you were on campus and how the people there interacted with you. Also, create a pro and con list of what you discovered while you were there. This can be very influential when you are comparing and contrasting the schools on your list. Remember that this is a time dedicated to help you and your family receive the information you need to make a wise decision about your college choice. Admission offices exist to be a resource for you and your family; it’s important for you to utilize them.