Tools to help you succeed in college admission interviews
A strong interview can be a big plus in the college application process—a chance for you to share your interests, your personality, and your excitement about the colleges you’ve chosen. Now that the college application season is underway, we wanted to share our answers to a few questions we get asked frequently about how the interview process works, what to expect, and how to prep for success!
1) I Just Applied…Do I Need to Request an Interview?
It’s important to keep in mind that colleges’ approaches to interviews vary widely: some require them, some “recommend” them, and many don’t offer them at all. Some colleges automatically match you with an interviewer when you apply; some leave it to you to request one. When you are applying to several schools, this becomes a lot of information to track!
To help streamline this process, we have compiled a database, detailing the interview policies and procedures for over 80 colleges. We hope you find it helpful!
2) Should I Bring a Résumé?
A résumé is optional, but can be useful for the interviewer, since it provides a quick snapshot of your interests, activities, and achievements. If your interviewer is an alum, as will be the case for many colleges, they often won’t know much about you in advance. A glance at your résumé can be a good conversation starter. If you do bring a résumé, you should hand it to your interviewer at the beginning of the interview. Don’t worry if they don’t look at it too closely—some interviewers will simply prefer to dive right into the conversation.
3) What Should I Wear?
Think “Business Casual”, which is a middle ground: more formal than everyday clothes like jeans and t-shirts, and less formal than a business suit.
4) What Kinds of Questions Will They Ask?
Interviewers want to know more about you! You should be ready to discuss your academic interests and the most important activities you participate in outside of the classroom. Anything you can share about your future goals will also be a plus. Remember, the best way to get others excited about you is to share what you are most excited about—so be ready to speak enthusiastically about why you do what you do. You should also be prepared to talk about what draws you to the particular college.
Also, most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them: be sure to arrive with one or two questions in mind, either about particular opportunities or characteristics of the college or, if your interviewer is an alum, about what their experience at the college was like.
Ultimately, the most well-worn piece of advice about college interviews is also the most important: Be yourself! Interviewers do what they do because they enjoy getting to know people. They are not there to grill you, ask “gotcha” questions, or put you on the spot. The more you can relax and enjoy the conversation, the better your interview will be!
One last tip: don’t forget the thank-you! A brief thank-you email can help you solidify
your great first impression. It is a good idea to refer to something specific from your conversation, as in “I especially enjoyed talking to you about….”
Interested in more advice about interviewing, or any aspect of the college application process? Please contact us!