06 October 2016

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Preparing for the College Interview

Although not a mandatory part of the admissions process, the college interview offers a prime opportunity to enhance a prospective student’s overall application profile. The college interview allows both student and school to learn additional details about each other. It generally is a casual event, not so much evaluative as it is informative for both parties. College interviews help to reinforce demonstrated interest in a particular school, another chance to reveal how a school represents the proper fit. For students debating whether or not to sit for a college interview, the swift answer is do sit!

Part and parcel to preparing for the interview is to complete a thorough evaluation of the merits of a particular college in relation to one’s preferences. This vital step elevates the conversation and enhances one’s enthusiasm for participating in the interview. Recognizing personal interests, goals for higher education and commitment to a particular program helps to convey enthusiasm for what a college seeks in their students. While interviews are often guided Q and A sessions that do not try to (intentionally) corner students or pin them down on esoteric topics, it is prudent to anticipate the type of questions typically included (sample list follows). Scripted responses sound artificial and limit the authenticity of one’s answers. However, it is good to go in with concise and cogent answers to the customary questions to illustrate your desire to attend.

With each successive interview that a student takes, there is a sense of accomplishment, that one has fulfilled an important step in their quest to gain admission to a preferred college. Furthermore, the interview acts as a guide post to refer to in drawing conclusions and impressions about the college itself. As a matter of course, it is good to keep a journal of college visits and to include the takeaways gathered from the interview experience. Once applications have been submitted and students await admissions decisions, it is often the positive impressions gained from experiences like the college interview that reveal a student’s top priority school.

Sample College Interview Questions:

  1. Why do you want to attend our college?
  2. What can you contribute to our campus community?
  3. What do you want to get out of your college experience?
  4. What courses have you enjoyed most?
  5. Are your grades an accurate reflection of your potential?
  6. Which of your activities is most rewarding and why?
  7. What has been your biggest achievement/accomplishment? Why?
  8. How did you spend last summer?
  9. How would you describe yourself to someone who did not know you?
  10. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  12. What do you want to do after you graduate from college? Ten years from now?
  13. What’s the most difficult situation you’ve faced?
  14. If you could change one thing about your high school, what would it be?
  15. How do you define “success”?
  16. Who do you count as your role model(s)?
  17. What about you is unique?
  18. What is the best book you have read? Why?
  19. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  20. If you are accepted into our school, what activities would you like to participate in?