College Interviews: Dos, Don'ts, and Common Questions

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Remember that the college interview is as much an opportunity for the school to learn about you as if is for you to learn about the school.  There is no right answer during an interview (it should be thought of more as a conversation); though there are some helpful things to remember when you step into your first interview.

Familiarize yourself with common questions

One of the best ways to anticipate a college interview is to anticipate the kinds of questions they'll ask you.  Here are some common questions that we've come across, in our experience:

1. Why are you interested in our college?

2. Why do you want to major in _______?

3. Tell me about a challenge you overcame.

4. If you had to do something differently in high school, what would you change and why?

5. What makes you different than other candidates?  How do you describe yourself?

6. What do you like to do for fun?

7. How do you envision yourself in 10 years?

8. Tell me about your favorite book and why.

9. What do you see as your biggest weakness?

10. How do you define success?

11. Who in your life most influenced you?

12. How will you contribute to our college?

Obviously, you see variations of these questions all the time.  The key, however, is being able to recognize the core of the question type and prepare your answer.

Practice adapting your personal statement thesis to your responses

Remember that personal statement you toiled over moments ago?  Well, all of that work can continue paying off!  Indeed, what you argue in your personal statement should be the foundation to every response you provide.

If you recall the thesis statement of your personal statement, you'll be able to recall your key argument.  Think of the responses to these questions as an opportunity to further support that argument with evidence.  So if someone asks you where you see yourself in 10 years, you should make sure it supports your central thesis!

The Dos and Don'ts for interview day

Do your homework.  Knowing as much as possible about the school will be a huge benefit.  Prepare 2-4 questions for the interview that you can ask your interviewer.

Do dress professionally and conservatively.

Do follow all of the standard rules of interviews. i.e. shake hands firmly, make eye contract, sit up straight, etc.

Do show enthusiasm for the school and the program.

Don't be late.  Instead, show up several minutes early.

Don't sit there and wait for questions to be asked.  Engage your interviewer by asking your own questions when it comes naturally.

Don't try and be someone else.  This is the biggest mistake that most applicants make during college interviews.  I know it is cliché, but just be yourself!

Don't forget to send a thank you note and reiterate your interest in the college.  Email is fine!

Are you interested in connecting with college coach to help you prepare for interview day?

Contact us!

Are you interested in reading more about college admissions?

Where Else Could you Go to College? Your Top Four Choices Beyond the Ivies

A Quick Review Of Early Decision Schools And How To Plan For Them