Whether you’re a prospective out-of-state student or your schedule is too busy to make the trip to campus, a virtual college interview is a convenient option to make an impact and fulfill your interview requirements.
This college interview checklist shares the items you need to have ready when you join the virtual meeting and some things you should avoid. For a smooth virtual conversation, read on!
Things To Bring to a Virtual College Interview
To bring or not to bring? If you’re unsure of what items you need to bring, take a look at the list below.
A Notepad and Pen
Taking notes during the interview is a great way to show the interviewer you’re engaged. Plus, it allows you to keep track of important information and jot down questions that come up. Typing notes on your computer might make you look unfocused. Furthermore, the sound of the keyboard could be distracting—opt for a pen and paper instead.
While it’s not guaranteed, your interviewer may ask about your standardized test scores. Having these scores readily available is a good idea, so you’re not scrambling to recall your scores. You can memorize your score or write them down on a sticky note near your computer. Alternatively, you can print out a copy of your complete college application, so you have access to your essays and scores nearby.
During an in-person interview, a student could leave a copy of their resume at the end of the interview. In a virtual format, this is not possible. However, having your resume handy might be useful. It won’t hurt to have it pulled up on your computer screen or printed nearby.
At the end of the conversation, you have one more chance to wow the interviewer. When they ask if you have any questions, have a few ready to go. Ask questions that stand out and whose answers can’t be found with a quick search on the university’s website.
Certain items may be of use if you’re applying for a specific program. Art students should have a portfolio of work handy. Athletes may need to have a video reel that’s ready to play. Drama or dance students may bring performance clips to share at the interview. These items can help foster conversation and allow the interviewer to see a side of you that’s difficult to express with words.
Go through past emails and other communications with the admissions office. Is there anything that they recommend bringing to your interview? Sometimes, an interview will request a student to bring their transcripts, test scores or other documents. Show the interviewer that you listened by having these items with you at the time of the interview.
An Updated Account
Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or another platform, ensure you have the latest version on your computer. Schedule a test call with a friend or family member to address loading problems or glitches before the interview. Also, verify that your username is professional.
Even the most well-planned interviews can experience technical difficulties. Rather than panicking, have an action plan already prepared. If the video call fails, can you take the interview onto a phone format? Make sure you have an alternate communication method with the interviewer if the video platform malfunctions or the internet goes down.
What You Shouldn’t Bring to a Virtual College Interview
Now that we’ve covered what to bring to a college interview, it’s time to discuss what to avoid. These virtual interview don’ts will save you from making unprofessional mistakes.
While it is wise to practice before your interview, you don’t want to sound robotic. Cliche answers that sound scripted will not help you stand out in a college interview. Have an idea of your responses, but leave room to change or add to these answers as necessary. That way, you come across as authentic and genuine.
You should be the focal point of the interview, not your background. Opt for a simple background free from clutter, distracting decor and bystanders.If you live with others, inform them of the day and time that you are interviewing.
Since the interviewer will only be seeing the top half of you, it’s tempting to reach for comfortable bottoms before the interview. But wearing a full interview-ready outfit can help you get into the interview mindset and positively impact the way you carry yourself, including your posture. Plus, if you have to stand up during the interview, you don’t want the interviewer to see sweatpants.
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