The College Admissions Interview: Do’s and Don’ts

For high school seniors the next two months will be the peak of college admissions interview season. An interview is a great opportunity to show an admissions office something about you it won’t see in your application. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for success with the college admissions interview:

  • Determine the kind of interview the school conducts: evaluative or informational. In an evaluativeinterview, your performance will contribute to whether you’re accepted. In an informational interview you’re given the opportunity to learn more about the college, while the college learns a little more about you. Most alumni interviews tend to be informational while an interview with an admissions officer is evaluative.
  • Arrive early. If you’re meeting virtually, log on 2-3 minutes early. For an in-person interview, arrive 5-10 minutes early.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear “business casual” attire. This means no hoodies or T-shirts.
  • Know what it is you want to talk about. Almost all interviews start with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Be prepared with a memorable answer conveying your enthusiasm for your chosen major, your future ambitions, and some positive qualities and/or things you’re involved in.
  • Practice what you want to say beforehand but don’t sound rehearsed and scripted.
  • Spend some time identifying specific things about the school that appeal to you (programs, professors, extracurriculars) and talk about them enthusiastically.
  • Read. Speak thoughtfully about the best books you’ve read in class and independently over the last year (movies, plays, etc. are good too.) Remember it’s not so much what you like, it’s how you articulate why you like it.
  • Ask smart, intuitive questions of the interviewer that aren’t answered by the college’s website.
  • Send a thank-you note. The note should be sent via email or USPS mail; do not use text.
  • Don’t be shy; share freely who you are and what makes you tick.
  • Don’t say you want to go to a college because of the connections you’ll make.
  • Don’t say you want to go to a school just because it’s in a city or a small town.
  • Don’t stammer when asked about a distinctive part of the school’s curriculum. Know what makes the school different!
  • Don’t ask what your chances are of getting admitted; that’s up to the admissions committee; remember the interview is just one part of the process. Your grades, test scores, teacher recommendations, extracurriculars, leadership skills, summer activities, as well as personal and supplemental essays on your application, will all play a significant role in your prospects.
Additional Assistance
For additional assistance with interview preparation or the college admissions process, contact us at 1-954-414-9986.
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