Top Dos And Don’ts For Your College Admissions Interview

college admission counseling
Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

While not all schools require a college admissions interview, being invited to one allows the admissions officer to measure your interest in their school; while also enabling you to demonstrate why you are a good fit for their institution.

College admission counseling groups agree that college admissions interviews rarely hurt—but strong interviews give you a competitive edge, whether for regular or rolling admissions. Counselors also strongly advise that you go well-prepared.

If you want to ace your upcoming interview, read this post for the top Dos and Don’ts shared by college admission counseling groups for high school students. Follow these tips to ensure you make the most of your college admissions interview, and leave the best impression you can.

Do:

  • Do your background research about the school, including what areas of study you are interested in, campus activities they offer, and other features that attract students. College admission counseling experts also advise applicants to be sure why they want to attend the school. Chances are, your interviewer will ask that too.
  • Do follow all interview etiquette rules, as you would for any job interview. That includes looking your best by dressing in business casual attire, arriving early (not late), sitting up straight, making eye contact with your interviewer, and shaking hands firmly—among other examples recommended by college admission counseling groups.
  • Do engage with your interviewer by coming prepared with a list of questions. You can ask about the school and any other questions as they naturally come to you. However, college admission counseling pros urge you to avoid the kinds of questions that can be quickly answered by reading the college website and other online sources like Wikipedia.
  • Do listen to your interviewer closely. Try to remember their name or write it down if you have problems memorizing it. When answering questions, use their name to address them and be brief and straightforward, so you avoid rambling. College admission counseling experts also recommend asking for the interviewer’s business card after your interview, so you can send them a thank-you note.
  • Finally, do be yourself and not someone else. Feel free to incorporate your accomplishments, goals, interests, and talents into your answers to make them personal. College admission counseling groups are always buzzing that applicants earnestly try to be their ideal selves during their college admissions interview.

Don’t:

  • Don’t express disinterest in the school, even accidentally. Avoiding negative comments such as the fact that your parents chose the school for you, or that the school is your second or third choice. Unfortunately, embarrassing examples of students not watching what they say still pervade college admission counseling boards. Not only do colleges want the best students, but they also want students who are genuinely interested in going to their educational institution.
  • Don’t simply count on your past accomplishments, experiences, and other credentials to drive your interview. College admission counseling experts advise that relying solely on your application and resume limits the interview and, worse, makes it entirely one-sided. While being genuine can be nerve-wracking for most applicants, an insight into your personality is what interviewers desire. Otherwise, they would just re-read your resume.
  • Don’t simply “wing it.” Worse than going to your interview with a prepared speech is going unprepared. The most helpful college admission counseling groups instead emphasize the advantages of taking time to get ready. This can include doing a modicum of research and preparing a list of questions to ask. If you have the time, practice your answers to sample questions with a friend or family member.
  • Don’t answer questions with only a “Yes” or “No.” You’re there for the college interviewer to get to know you as a real person beyond your application—the only way to accomplish that is to answer thoughtfully and enthusiastically. To truly stand out, college admission counseling advises you to show that you can think and have a great deal of enthusiasm for various topics, especially your prospective major.

Essential College Admission Counseling Services

College interviews are an opportunity for the school to get insight into you and you about the school. As with any conversation, which it is, there is no right or wrong. Therefore, don’t immediately assume you blew it. Suppose you need extra college counseling for everything from matching you with the best school to financial planning for college. In that case, Empowerly provides a comprehensive set of college admission counseling services (https://empowerly.com/college-admissions-counseling-services) to guarantee admission success. Our college admission counseling group gets results. Call us now to book your consultation!

Questions? Let us know!