College Counseling:
College Interview Tips

Before the Interview

  • Make sure you answer the interview request promptly. Work around their schedules.
  • Familiarize yourself with the college online; there is no such thing as too much research.
  • Make sure you know the status of the interviewer: alumni, admissions staff, professional interviewer, etc.
  • Have a copy of your resume with you when at the interview
  • Attire should be “business casual”.

At the Interview

  • The point of the interview is to find out who you are, so be forthcoming in your answers. Be confident but not overconfident.  Any hint of arrogance or condescension will reflect very badly on you.
  • Always shake hands while looking your interviewer in the eyes.
  • Do not fiddle with your hands or hair or clothing during the interview.  Avoid leg or foot bouncing.  Don’t chew gum during the interview.
  • Relax, smile warmly, be genial.
  • Try to maintain eye contact. This shows you are engaged in the conversation.

What interviewers like to see

  • Students who speak with enthusiasm and energy
  • Clear presentation of your accomplishments
  • Knowledge of the college by asking insightful questions that are not on the web
  • Emerging adults who are interested in something bigger than (other than) themselves

Sample topics or lead questions from Interviews

  • Tell me about yourself.  
  • What motivates you?
  • Why do you want to go to this college?
  • What makes you the ideal candidate for this school?
  • What distinguishes you from other candidates?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Tell me about (an activity or involvement from your resume).
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Who are your role models?
  • What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  • What is the last book(s) you read?  Who is your favorite author? Recommend a “must read” book for me…
  • What’s your favorite news source?
  • What high school course has been the most challenging? The most interesting?
  • How would you describe your high school?
  • What do you hope to major in at college, and why?
  • What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?
  • What would you like to tell me that hasn’t come up thus far?
  • Do you have any questions?

Final Points

  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
  • Avoid saying anything negative, whether about teachers, other schools, classmates, etc.
  • Be specific or anecdotal in your responses
  • Avoid mentioning or dwelling on conflicts in your past
  • If you are talking with an alumni interviewer, ask why he or she chose the school in the first place and what he or she most liked about it

After the Interview

  • Send an e-mail thanking the interviewer for his or her time

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