Useful Tips for Acing the College Admissions Interview

Are you applying to a college requiring an admissions interview? If so, you might be feeling anxious and maybe even stumped. This is totally normal, but there is nothing to worry about. Think of this as an extra opportunity for the school to get to know you better on a personal level that isn’t revealed from test scores and your essay.

In most cases, the interview will not make or break your chances of getting into your dream school, but can definitely help boost your odds if you do a good job showing why and how you stand out from other candidates. In short, take the interview seriously and prepare for it, but don’t sweat it. Be yourself, and show off your unique personality traits!

Now you may be wondering how to prepare for it. Here are some tips to get you on the path to success:

Conduct Mock Interviews

Practice makes perfect, so doing as many mock interviews with your parents, teachers, and friends will not only make you more comfortable with the interview process, but also help you nail down your answers to common questions that college admissions officers are likely to ask. Ask yourself the same questions over and over so that you can better formulate and articulate your responses.

A few common questions include:

  • Why do you want to attend this school?
  • What are your strengths & weaknesses?
  • What was your greatest experience in high school?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • Tell me about yourself. (focus on 3 things)
  • What are your future goals?
  • If you could meet any important figure in the past or present, who would that be, and why? What would you two talk about?
  • What have you done to prepare for college?
  • What do you want to study in college?
  • Tell me about some of your favorite activities & hobbies to engage in outside of class.
  • What’s something interesting about you that your application wouldn’t tell me?
  • What’s your favorite subject/class in high school?
  • Give me an example of an obstacle that you had to endure. What did you learn from it and how did you handle it?

When coming up with answers to these questions, avoid trying to come up with responses that you think the admissions officer is looking for. Relax and be nothing but yourself – because overly fabricated responses will show through.

Make a Solid First Impression

You can only make a first impression once, so make it good! This means dressing appropriately to impress, making eye contact, and being aware of your posture. Think about this college admissions interview like an interview you’d do to get a job.

Don’t be Afraid to Brag

It’s great to be book smart, but college admissions officers these days are looking for special qualities well beyond just that. That being said, don’t hesitate to flaunt your accomplishments outside of the classroom. For example, you could share your work experience, or talk about any clubs or organizations you are a part of. If you’ve completed community service, that’s also great to mention. Finally, show your fun side by describing some of your non-academic hobbies. Being well-rounded is important as it shows you are relatable and have a lot going for you aside from just doing well academically.

Ask Questions

Asking questions during an interview shows you have a genuine interest in the school and the program(s) being offered. Before going to an interview, you should always keep in mind a few thought-provoking, creative questions with answers that cannot be easily found online on the college’s website. Then, ask the questions during the interview when the topic comes up or as you see fit.

Practice Common Interview Etiquette

When going to a college admissions interview, you want to be on time, speak clearly, ask questions when appropriate, and answer questions as thoroughly as possible. At the end of the interview, be sure to thank the admissions officer for taking time out of their busy day to meet. After that, sending a thank-you note is optional, but a nice touch. Doing little things to go above and beyond will make you stand out from the crowd so that the admissions officer will remember you over the thousands of students he or she has interviewed.