What is one step a high school student should take when preparing for a college interview?
To help you with interview tips for college, we asked college graduates this question for their best suggestions. From doing research to being yourself, there are several tips that may help you do well and move on to the next steps to becoming a college student at the school of your choice.
Here are 10 tips to prepare high school students for a college interview:
- Assume the Interview Starts at First Contact
- Do Your Research
- Think Like the Interviewer
- Have Questions Ready
- Be True to Yourself
- Dress Professionally
- Have an Actual Conversation
- Practice With a Mock Interview
- Demonstrate Your Growth
- Don’t Memorize Answers
Assume the Interview Starts at First Contact
Many students think that a college interview begins when the student steps into the interviewer’s office, but often, a first impression starts forming from the moment a college makes contact with the candidate. It is important to be courteous, professional, and prompt in all pre-interview communications. Recruiters may take note if initial emails are returned weeks late or riddled with errors, or, conversely, if an applicant is exceedingly polite and gracious. High school students may want to create an email address solely for school applications to streamline and organize communications. Be sure to respond to every message within a couple of days and double and triple-check grammar and spelling before hitting send.
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
Do Your Research
Research questions asked during a college interview. Know about the college you applied to. The reason for this research is to get yourself ready for all types of questions that will be thrown at you. And knowing important details about the college will give you leverage, especially when they ask you questions concerning their college.
Jill Sandy, Constant Delights
Think Like the Interviewer
Before a college interview or any kind of interview, it is very helpful to write down and practice answering a few questions that you believe the interviewer will ask you. For example, questions like, “Why do you want to attend this school?” and “What makes you the best candidate for admission?” are ones that are present in almost any interview. Additionally, team-oriented questions commonly are brought up, such as “Talk about a time where you were a leader” and “When was a time you had a disagreement with a teammate, and how did you go about this situation?” Most importantly, the interviewer wants to see if you are confident in your responses and truly interested in their school, so make sure to exude great energy!
Kirk Williams, Markitors
Have Questions Ready
When prepping for a college interview, always remember to prep specific questions. The interviewer will expect you to ask some questions about the school, what life is like there and talk about why you want to go there. Prep some solid questions with answers that you can’t find on the website. This shows your enthusiasm for the school and will help you find the right college for you.
Jim Beard, BoxGenie
Be True to Yourself
Preparing for an important college interview can feel extremely overwhelming, so it’s important to take the time to feel confident in your potential answers! Instead of focusing on what you think will be the “right” answer or the answer that will impress your interviewer, stay focused on your true passions and desires for your future education and careers. Answering in an authentic way will be much more beneficial than trying to impress interviewers who have already heard it all!
Brandon Brown, Grin
Although college admissions interviews are usually pretty informal, it’s better to dress up than dress down! Put on clothes you would wear for a formal job interview: stylish, comfortable, and sure to leave a good first impression. If you are going to attend the admissions interview in person (for example, rather than via Skype), make sure you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there and allow plenty of time. Take a deep breath and smile! Even if you feel scared inside, force yourself to smile — it will make you feel better and show the interviewer that you are excited about this opportunity.
Abby Ha, WellPCB
Have an Actual Conversation
It is normal to get nervous during a college interview, but you shouldn’t let yourself get too caught up with it. Sometimes, you just need to loosen up and remember that an interview is essentially a conversation with another human being. The interviewer is not necessarily scrutinizing everything about you, so establish rapport and make yourself relatable. One way to do this is by expressing a widely accepted or non-controversial opinion on a topic that may be related to an interview question. For example, if the college you are applying to has a well-known sports program and the question pertains to your interests, you can establish rapport by talking about your interest in the sport, your knowledge of their sports team or program, and a commonly-held opinion about, say, the team’s recent performance.
Jacob Villa, School Authority
Practice With a Mock Interview
A college interview will often include questions about academic performance and extracurricular activities. A high school student can ask friends or family to help them conduct a mock interview. This gives them a chance to practice so that they’ll be well-prepared for any questions they might be asked.
Adrian Cole, HIDE
Demonstrate Your Growth
The admissions interview is a way for you to showcase your personality apart from impressive GPAs, test scores, and other scholastic achievements. At my company, a globally recognized education consulting company specializing in college application strategy, we believe that it is important to demonstrate growth in your answers. All of the admission’s officers see student achievements on the applications. Interviewers appreciate the stories behind the achievements — the obstacles you faced, how you grew, and what you learned and applied in your life. This shows maturity and college readiness and will definitely make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Be passionate and elaborate when giving your answers. Giving one-word or even one-sentence answers won’t cut it. The best way for you to show your proficiency in communication is to give detailed, relevant, and thoughtful answers.
Josephine Sulayao, Cardinal Education
Don’t Memorize Answers
There are many web pages with the most common college interview questions. Do not memorize them, do not only practice answers to these questions. Recruiters conduct thousands of interviews and do not want to hear the same answers repeatedly. As you prepare for your college interview, ask someone to interview you, relying on internet questions. Make your responses spontaneous, unlearned. You have been invited to an interview; recruiters want to know the real you and not listen to learned answers.
Maciej Kubiak, PhotoAiD