Top 7 tips to prepare for your college interview and ace it

A college interview is a valuable opportunity in the admission process to show off the traits you can bring to campus and create a relationship with admission gatekeepers. Most colleges use interviews to understand the person behind the test scores and gauge a student’s interest in the institution. It is an important part of the college application process, so you must treat it seriously.

For many high school students, college interviews are a source of confusion and stress. So, how do you prepare for your college interview? Read on to learn top tips to help you breeze easily through a college interview.

college interview

Top 7 college interview tips

1. Research the school

You’ll need to know about the school to discuss how it relates to your aspirations and interests. Colleges encourage students to ask the admission representative questions related to college life, their ambitions, and college admission requirements. The admission representatives will consider your answers as well as your college application papers. To increase your chances of successful admission, find a quick essay writer from a reliable writing company, such as FastEssay, to get instant help with college admission papers which can help you stand out and demonstrate why you are a good fit for the school.

2. Review common interview questions

College interviews tend to repeat some basic questions that help them understand the student. Review some common questions and have your responses ready, but try not to come off as overly scripted. Common interview questions include:

  • Why do you want to join this college?
  • What do you consider to be your academic strengths?
  • What activities do you do outside of school?
  • What 3 adjectives best describe you?
  • What obstacle have you faced recently in life and how did you overcome it?

3. Refresh your knowledge of current events

Interviewers like to get a student’s opinion on popular news topics to gauge their critical thinking skills. It could be about climate change, immigration, the electoral process, the pandemic, and other current events. Read up on popular topics to stay ready for such questions. Don’t use strong language or get too political with your answers. Instead, express your honest opinion in a way that shows you understand the issue. Also, you may encounter other unusual questions, such as, “What would you do if you got a million dollars?” or “What 2 things would you change about your current school?” Try to link answers to such questions with what matters to you.

4. Save your top choice college for last

Most students apply to many colleges. If you are one, strategically schedule the interview for your top choice college last on the list. That way, you have enough time to practice — the more interviews you do the better you become at it. Solicit feedback from interviewers about areas of improvement and your strengths. You can also set mock interviews as part of your practice. By the time you get to interviews for your dream college, you’ll be well prepared and relaxed because you have a good idea of what to expect.

5. Prepare your questions

A college interview is more of a discussion, so you are expected to ask the interviewer some questions. Come prepared with questions that show your genuine curiosity about the school. Don’t ask obvious questions that can be answered by a quick search on the college website or Google. Ask questions that spark conversation and demonstrate your seriousness about joining the college. Avoid irrelevant non-academic questions or queries about your chances of getting admission. Instead, take advantage of the interviewer’s alumni status to get interesting details from someone who has been at the school.

6. Be your best self

Remember, you want to join a college that fits your needs and preferences. Also, your interviewer wants to know you as a person. That’s why you need to relax and let your interviewer discern what value you will add to the campus community. Showcase your best self by acting professionally, poised, and mature. Let them know who you are as a member of a community, a friend, and a student. Be careful not to let your guard down so much that you deter the interviewer. Also, avoid disguising your weakness as a strength. Be honest and explain the steps you’re taking to improve on your weaknesses.

7. Practice

College interviews can be scary, so it’s normal to feel nervous and jittery before going to one. For most students, this is the first time they are in the hot seat. Interviewing is a skill that you must practice to perfect. Find a trusted adult, such as a college counselor, to help you identify potential interview questions and answers. You can also search online for common questions to expect. Take the practice seriously as if it’s the real interview and ask for feedback. The more you practice, the better you will perform during the real interview.

How to make your first impression count in a college interview

college interview

  • Greet the interviewer — Enter the interview room with good posture and give your interviewer a firm handshake. Maintain good eye contact and use proper titles to address the interviewer.
  • Ask permission to be seated — Don’t walk in and go straight for the seat. Request the interviewer’s permission to sit. Demonstrate alertness throughout the interview by sitting up with legs uncrossed and with relaxed arms and feet.
  • Dress business casual — Blend your attire with traditional business clothes and some casual fits. You want to look well-polished but also comfortable. Avoid inappropriate or distracting outfits, such as shorts, jeans, and short dresses.
  • Carry a portfolio — Carry materials that demonstrate your talents, achievements, and recommendations. A portfolio may include samples of your previous works, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other relevant achievements.
  • Arrive on time — If you want to make your first impression count, learn the directions beforehand and arrive early. You’ll have enough time to prepare mentally and relax before the interview starts.
  • Perfect your conversation skills — The goal of an interview is to help the interviewer learn more about you and your compatibility with the school. Instead of giving one-word answers, provide specific examples and answers to demonstrate how you’ll contribute to the college community.
  • Practice your goodbyes — When the interview is over, shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time. You can ask for their business card and send a formal thank you note.

Put forth your best effort to make the best impression

While a college interview is not a make or break situation, you still want to make a good impression. Practice and do what you can to be prepared for the interview. It’s ok to be nervous, but don’t let that stop you from demonstrating your value, personality, and grit. With the college tips above in mind, you’ll crush it.

Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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