9 Tips for College Admissions Interviews

Acing a college admissions interview can give you just the boost you need to move from maybe to accepted. Many colleges don’t require interviews but our advisors encourage you to meet and talk with a college interviewer when possible.

Here are 9 tips for succeeding with the college admissions interview:

  1. Know what type of interview you’re attending. In evaluative interviews, the interviewer considers your performance when deciding whether or not to recommend your acceptance. Informative interviews give you the opportunity to find out more about the college, while the college seeks to learn more about you. Here, the college interviewers may want to impress you, as much as you want to impress them, so you’ll choose their school. Interviews may be both evaluative and informative.
  2. Make yourself stand out. In a good way. Interviewers will almost always ask you to tell them about yourself. Be prepared with a memorable answer. It’s worth conveying your passion for your chosen major, your future ambitions, and the positive qualities you possess that will ensure your academic success.
  3. Plan your answers.  There are frequently asked questions. For example, most interviewers will ask you why you want to study at their college and what your future goals are. Show your interviewer that you’ve done your research on the school and you’re enthusiastic about your major. When demonstrating your knowledge, try to drop in name of courses you’re interested in or other specific details. College interviewers may also ask you trickier questions like, “What’s your greatest disappointment?” so be prepared for those, as well.
  4. Prepare thoughtful questions. You won’t only be asked to answer questions, but to ask them. The question you ask should demonstrate your interest in the college and admissions process. Do not ask questions that can easily be obtained by a simple search or on the college website. Show thought, you’ve done your research, and you’ve been listening to the interviewer.
  5. Practice makes perfect. Sit down with a friend, family member or expert college advisor from International College Counselors and practice for your college interview. Start with your answers to the most common college interview questions.
  6. Dress Appropriately. Wear “business casual” clothes to your interview, meaning the kind of outfit you’d wear for a formal job interview.  Think smart and comfortable, and you’ll make the right first impression. Google “business casual” and you’ll see many examples of what to wear.
  7. Arrive early. Be 10-15 minutes early.Ensure this by mapping out where you’re going, knowing how long it takes to get there, and allowing plenty of time.
  8. Pay attention to details. Make sure you have a proper handshake, maintain eye contact, demonstrate good posture, and display good body language. Also turn off your cell phone before the meeting. Smile, be positive and polite. Non-verbally show your interviewers that you’re excited about the opportunity.
  9. Send a thank you note.  After your interview send a thank you note to your interviewer.  Thank them for their time and make sure you refer to something you discussed during your meeting.   This will help them remember you.

To all students: Good luck with your college admissions interviews!