Beat the College Interview Game

man and woman sitting beside table
Cameron Devall
Cameron Devall

Cameron began his career as an English language teacher. After graduating from Heythrop College of Philosophy and Theology, University of London, he continued on to teach in Indonesia and Russia. Today, he fulfills his true passion by writing.

There are some tips and tricks that will help you stand out in the college interview process and increase your chances of admission.

The Interview

The college interview is often overlooked in the college admissions process. Along with a strong application, it’s a critical factor. This process can make or break a student’s chances of getting into one of their target or reach schools.

The best thing a student can do is realize that this is an assessment of their personality. It is not simply a redundant discussion of academic achievements and things already included in the college application. The interview is to let the college know things about the student that could not be communicated on paper. According to College Board, the interviewer wants to see that a student has thought about all aspects of student life. They also hope students can speak honestly about what they expect their experience will be like.

Tips To Excelling

The college admissions officers are looking to have a conversation with prospective students, not the formal job-style interview that students might expect.

Practice a mock interview with your family or friends to be better prepared for the kinds of questions that will be asked. These can be found online. Keep in mind that the interviewer does not want to hear form answers, but wants to know your unique opinion.

Ask the interviewer a few questions. Have some example questions ready to ask when the interview presents you with the opportunity. This will show that you’re taking initiative in your own education and using the chance to get the most information out of the interview experience.

Things To Avoid

The things you should do to enhance your interview are only helpful if you also avoid doing the wrong things too. According to an article in U.S. News, some of the worst things a student can do involve altering their personality to impress the interviewer, being too shy, bragging too much about their achievements, or practicing form answers so much that they sound rehearsed. 

These mistakes can cost a student their admission into a school that would have otherwise entered easily. Though these mistakes are bad, the worst one is a student coming to an interview without having researched the school. This makes it incredibly clear to the interviewer that it is not their school the student is interested in but simply going to a college.

To recap:

  1. Research the university that you are visiting
  2. Make sure you have looked up many possible questions
  3. Find out some interview techniques, especially on how to answer negative questions about yourself such as the classic: “What is your biggest weakness?”
  4. Do not over prepare your answers
  5. Be yourself, pretending or acting differently will be quickly recognized by the interviewer
  6. Have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer that show your interest in the school and in being a productive student

We hope this has helped put your nerves about the college interview process to rest. It doesn’t need to be intimidating; it can actually be a useful tool for both parties to learn. You’ve got this!

Questions? Let us know!