By: Caroline Koppelman
In addition to sending in your applications, some schools will offer the opportunity for you to have an interview. These college interviews usually take place with a student, professor, or an alumni of the school.
No matter who your interview is with, it’s always best to arrive prepared. In order to make the most of your interview and leave your interviewer with the impression that you’d be the perfect fit for their school, you want to be genuine and authentic in your responses. In order to accomplish this goal we recommend you follow these tips.
- Don’t answer questions with rehearsed answers. Although we recommend preparing for your interviews, you don’t want to start answering questions in a robotic, monotonous way. You should be able to converse with your interviewer. The interview should feel natural and not forced. Your answers should lead the interviewer to their next question, or even open up to a discussion. Your aim is to keep conversation flowing.
- If you do some research on your interviewer, don’t be creepy about it. Another way to prepare for an interview is to educate yourself about the person who is interviewing you so that you can reference their interests or accomplishments in conversation. This won’t be applicable for interviews that are randomized, but you should still be researching information about the institution you are interviewing for. The trick about including information from your research is to weave it into conversation. Try not to make forward and awkward remarks. Again, your goal is to have a natural conversation.
- Prepare questions. Everyone knows to prepare answers, but we want you to know that you should also have questions. Popular questions to ask in an interview usually stem from the student’s particular interests. For example, you might ask, “if a club doesn’t already exist on campus, are students able to start them on their own?” Or, “are there resources for students on a pre-professional track that is not provided by the school?” These questions show that you know what you want and have already considered the path you want to take in college.
- Try to think outside of the box. A lot of students will answer questions with the responses that they think their interviewers want to hear. Instead, you should be true to yourself so that you can highlight your best characteristics. This can easily be accomplished by answering the “what’s your favorite book” question with any book you read that wasn’t assigned in high school. Just try to keep your answers fresh and unique.
- Make eye contact. This might feel awkward for you, but it’s professional and necessary. While speaking with someone, your eyes should meet. It’s awkward to talk to someone who is staring at the table or off in the distance. It also feels disrespectful for the person who you are talking to.
- Carry yourself well. You want to be presentable. You should come to your interview dressed to impress. When you arrive, you want to be attentive and in the right headspace to succeed in showing your interviewer that you’re more than qualified to attend their school.