Does the thought of sitting down face-to-face with a college admissions officer for an interview provoke a nerve-racking, stomach-churning, sweaty-palm reaction? Take a deep breath—there are several things you can do to prevent your interview from becoming a head-to-head intimidation session.
Do a Mock Interview
The secret to conquering any interview? Practice, practice, practice. Do a mock interview with your parents, teachers, or friends. Ask yourself the same questions again and again to better formulate and understand your responses the second time around.
A few of the most common interview questions college admissions officers will ask you are:
- Why do you want to attend this university?
- What is your strongest/weakest point?
- What have you done to prepare for college?
- What has been your greatest experience in high school?
- Tell me about yourself (focus on three things).
- Tell me about your involvement in extracurricular activities.
- What do you want to do in the future?
- If you could meet any important figure in the past or present, who would it be and what would you talk about?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Continually practicing interview questions will give you a heads up on the competition when it comes time for the actual interview itself…and it will help to keep your nerves a little more tame as well.
Always Make a Good First Impression
Dressing appropriately is key when it comes to a job interview, so why would your college admissions interview be any different? Be certain to dress to impress, be aware of your posture, and make good eye contact. Treat this interview as if it were your job interview.
Go ahead, Brag a Little
Don’t be shy. Brag about your accomplishments and your involvement in extracurriculars. Schools want students who not only are academically inclined, but who are interesting people as well. Talk about work experience, any clubs or organizations you are involved in, any community service you have completed, your hobbies, or even unique summer jobs you have held. If there are any drawbacks to your application, take this time to explain that also. The more the admissions officer can find out about you, the better.
Turn the Tables: Quiz Your Interviewer
Even though questions seem to be darting at you from all directions, and nerves might be skyrocketing, it’s important to keep your cool and be yourself. You should ask the interviewer some questions, too. If you are undecided about a major, for example, ask the admissions officer about different majors and programs the school offers to show that you are serious about finding your professional niche. After all, the admissions officer wants to get to know the real you.
What to Do Next?
As with a job interview, send a thank you letter to the admissions officer and any others who may have been helpful during your visit. Also, be sure to include any additional information about yourself you think is relevant that you might have forgotten to mention during your interview. Choosing which school you will attend is a decision that should be thought out with much care, after all, it’s where you will be spending the next four years of your life.