Some people find writing essays easy when submitting college applications. After all, you can look up facts and stats online, and you can check your grammar and spelling at your leisure. You can use an online thesaurus site so that you don’t have to keep repeating the same words in your composition.
However, college interviews can be rather stressful. If you’re preparing for your college interview, here are some tips to remember:
1. College interviews are not like job interviews. With a college interview, the administration simply wants to get to know you and see if you’re a good fit. But they are all too willing to like you, and they actually want you to like their school as well.
So what does this mean? Essentially, a college interview is just a social engagement. It’s not an interrogation, but a nice informative conversation.
2. Reread your application information. Your interviewer will be using your application as a starting point, so you may as well remember what information you placed there. It won’t do any good if you padded your list of hobbies with activities you’ve already forgotten about.
3. Be prepared for the usual questions. You’ll probably be asked why you want to study in their school, what major you will choose, and what your expectations are. You don’t have to memorize your answers word for word, however, so you will sound natural.
4. Remember your past experiences and have a clear plan for the future. You’ll also probably be asked about past events in your life as well as your future plans.
5. Do your homework. That means you should know the important info about the school you’re planning to attend. At some point in the conversation, you’d be asked to ask them questions and the answers to those questions shouldn’t already be available in the school website.
For example, you shouldn’t be asking about their engineering department if they don’t offer engineering degrees at all. You shouldn’t ask whether they have fraternities, because the school website will already have that info available. But you can ask them how important it is to join a group or organization for your academic and social life.
6. Dress appropriately. Be conservative, and keep your jewelry to a minimum.
7. Be on time. Excuses will not be tolerated if you’re late. So that means you need to anticipate traffic conditions, and you should know exactly which room to go to for your interview. As much as possible, get there at least 15 minutes early, so that you can relax and check your appearance, as well as take care of any bathroom emergency.
8. Be friendly. Remember, you want them to like you. So shake hands and smile, and keep your tone light and friendly. Elaborate on your answers, even if you think that the question can be answered by a simple yes or no.
9. Always put a positive spin on things. Keep the focus on the positive aspects of your background, and refer to problems you’ve had as challenges that you eventually overcame.
10. After the interview, send a “thank you” note. You should do this shortly after the interview. This helps them to remember you, and it also shows them your interest and sincerity.