To the unprepared college applicant, college interviews can seem like an interrogation. In reality, college interviews are more like a conversation, where the applicant and the school have the opportunity to get to know each other better, and to see if they would be a good fit for each other. There are some questions that college interviews tend to use pretty often, with this goal in mind.
Still, in order to have successful college interviews, you want to be professional, focused, and prepared. Understanding what questions college interviewers love to ask and why they ask them can give you a huge boost in the college application process. Let’s consider some popular questions now to help you prepare.
Why do you want to attend our college?
While a seemingly straightforward question, a college interviewer wants to know that you understand the specifics of what their school has to offer. This is an opportunity to talk about programs or professors that interest you, or to demonstrate in some way your deeper understanding of the school and what it has to offer. Interviewers might also ask the similar question, “What do you have to offer our college?”
Where do you see yourself in X years?
Five years, ten years, an interviewer who asks this question wonders how their college fits into your life plan. They’ll be more convinced that you’ll attend their school upon acceptance if you can draw a strong connection between this school and your future plans.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a great question to prepare now, as job interviewers will ask you this as well. If you’re unsure of your strengths and weaknesses, ask some trusted friends and family members. Once you have a list, strive to find examples of how you’re working to overcome your weaknesses. This will demonstrate your self-awareness and your ability to grow. Similarly, interviewers might ask, “What three adjectives best describe you?”
What challenge(s) have you overcome?
College is tough, and the world beyond it is even tougher. A college interviewer, when asking this question, wants to know that you have the emotional and intellectual stamina to thrive in college. This question also gives insight to your character.
Who has most influenced you?
Another character insight question, your influences can offer a glimpse into the kind of person you will become, or at least the kind of person you’ll strive to become. How you describe who has influenced you will also demonstrate how you view others, and your ability to assess someone else’s character.
What’s your favorite book?
It’s a seemingly inane question, but it has a point; your answer to this question demonstrates whether or not you are well-read, and can form insightful and articulate opinions on the world around you. Here are some more tips on how to handle this question in college interviews.
You may have the urge to take these questions, memorize them, and then memorize canned answers to them. But you don’t want to do that. You’re a unique candidate with a lot to offer a college, so there’s no need to tell an interviewer what you think they want to hear. Use these questions instead as an opportunity to decide how you can uniquely answer them and turn them into a tool to ensure your success.
Furthermore, bring your own questions to the college interview. This is an opportunity to have a conversation and build a relationship. It’s just as important for a school to be a good fit for you, as well as being a good fit for them.