The College Interview: Questions, Tips and How to Prepare
By now you’ve probably heard your parents, teachers and mentors tell you (at least once) that first impressions and networking are important, right? Sure, that might seem scary or intimidating as you navigate your college search, but we have good news for you: the college interview can help you do both. You’ll have the opportunity to connect (network!) with people in real life — on campus or virtually — and build upon your dream schools’ first impression of you. One interview, multiple items checked off the list!
Not only does a college interview help you network and enhance your reputation, but you get the chance to gather more information about the school and answer all of your lingering questions. Plus, since you’re going to spend the next four years shaping your future at this school, having the chance to meet your college family and tell them why you’re the perfect fit for their community, is an incredible opportunity.
More benefits of participating in an interview:
- Increase your Demonstrated Interest Level: When you visit campus, attend virtual events and open emails from the colleges you want to attend, you’re showing increasing levels of demonstrated interest that colleges track. When you add an interview to the list, you show the school that you’re in it for the long run.
- An opportunity to discuss any areas of potential concern such as your GPA, test scores, and how you learn best, etc.
- The possibility of gaining an advantage over those applicants who opted out of doing an interview.
- A chance to show who you are beyond the transcript and test scores. At Ursinus, we love hearing our future students’ stories in person and why they think we’re the place for them.
- Build a relationship with your counselor: Ask specific questions, build rapport and receive recommendations about visit experiences, good faculty connections and even specialty scholarships you should consider.
Once you’ve signed up for interviews at all of your top choices, here are some tips to help you prepare:
What to Wear:
Dress to impress! Be polished, be you and be sure you’re comfortable.
The best interviews aren’t forced and evolve naturally after the first few questions. By being prepared to answer the below starter questions, you can help guide the interview in a way that helps you be the best you:
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Yes, the dreaded question. Be sure to tell them what you’re hoping for in your future, your passions and interests and give them a peek into the type of student and community member you’ll be.
- Why do you want to attend this college? Try to scale it down to 2-3 bullet points with succinct supporting information. Here’s an example: I want to attend Ursinus because I’m the type of student who has many passions. Being able to pursue all of those passions - science, dance and basketball – would give me the opportunity to do what I love and thrive.
The Follow Up (BONUS):
Thank you notes, especially handwritten ones, tend to be a lost art and are always appreciated. Take the time to write a note to those who helped you during the interview (and include any personal touches you can!).