As you’re building your college list and visiting schools, you may notice that some institutions offer interviews. Admission interviews can be required, encouraged, or optional; some are evaluative, while others are informational.
Like many students, you may be wondering if you should take advantage of interview opportunities. A general rule of thumb is to call the admissions office and ask if the interview is a required component of the application process. Often, interviews are not required, but are encouraged as a way to give prospective students the opportunity to share information about themselves and communicate why they are interested in attending that institution.
When admission officers are reading applications, the more information we have about a student, the more educated we are in rendering an admission decision. Here are our best tips on things to do (or not) if you want to ace your next college interview.
- Arrive on time. First impressions are very important, and showing up late to an interview does not give a positive impression.
- Dress neatly and professionally, but make sure you are comfortable.
- Bring a list of questions to ask your interviewer. It’s impressive when a student has prepared ahead of time with a list of relevant questions.
- Be yourself! Honesty and authenticity are important. If you feel like you have to misrepresent yourself to be appealing to a college, it is not the right school for you.
- Take the time to explain anything you want the admission committee to know about that might not be readily apparent in your application, such as illnesses and school absences.
- Never ask about your chances of being admitted to the college. This is not professional and will not leave a good impression.
- Don’t assume that the interviewer has knowledge of your academic record. Interviews are typically done before you’ve submitted an application, and the interviewer has not looked at any of your official academic documents prior to the interview.
- Don’t give one-word answers to questions. Make sure to answer in complete sentences and to elaborate when needed.
Hopefully this information will help you as you embark on this stage of the college search. Remember, as long as you’re yourself and prepare ahead of time, your interview will be worry-free.