Are you gearing up for a college interview? It can be a nerve-wracking experience, trying to think of the perfect words to answer all the questions both confidently and honestly.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed – take a deep breath and relax. We have the perfect resource for common college interview questions to help you prepare to ace your college applications and be one step closer to getting into the college of your dreams.
Whether you already have your upcoming interview dates or just want to get prepared in advance—let’s start breaking down exactly how you can ace those college interviews!
10 Major College Interview Questions to Prepare For
With so many big decisions and new opportunities, preparing for the university application can be challenging. One of the most pivotal parts of the admissions process, however, is nailing your college interview. So, how to prepare for college interviews? Equip yourself with our top 10 major questions you’re sure to encounter during your interview, plus some insider tips from those who have been there before!
1. Why do you want to attend our college?
Be honest and genuine in your answer, and avoid saying that you like the school’s location or reputation. Instead, focus on how the school’s curriculum, faculty, and resources will each help you pursue your academic and professional goals.
2. What are your academic strengths and interests?
This is an opportunity to discuss your transcripts and test scores in a new light—don’t just repeat your resume. Take time to highlight any courses, projects, or extracurricular activities that have been particularly meaningful to you. Finally, be sure to explain how your interests align with the programs offered at the college.
3. Describe a time when you faced a challenge academically.
Colleges are looking for students who are resilient and can persevere through difficulties. Discuss when you had to overcome a setback or obstacle in your schooling and what you did to manage it successfully.
4. What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
In addition to discussing your academics, colleges also want to know about your involvement outside the classroom. Share information about any leadership roles, clubs you belong to, or service projects you participate in. Reflect upon a few specific anecdotes that showcase what you enjoy most about the activity, and how it helps you grow. A healthy amount of detail makes these anecdotes a compelling tale!
5. Why did you choose your current course of study?
If you’re applying to a specific program or major, colleges will want to know why you’re interested in it and how your previous coursework has prepared you for it. Be sure to mention any relevant experiences, such as internships or research projects, that have influenced your decision.
6. What are your career aspirations?
While colleges want students who are focused on their education, they also want students who have a clear idea of what they hope to do after graduation. Discuss your long-term career goals and how attending college will help you achieve them. This is an opportunity to express the vision you hold for your future.
7. Are there any gaps in your educational history?
If there are any gaps in your educational history (for example, if you took a year off between high school and college), be prepared to explain them. Colleges will want to know the reasons behind any breaks in your schooling, what you did during that time, and how you plan to make up for them academically.
8. Do you have any family members who attended our college?
Colleges will want to know if they had a positive experience and whether they would recommend the school to others. This question is also an opportunity to discuss any legacy status that may apply to you as a potential student.
9. What financial aid do you need?
Many students require financial assistance to attend college, so this is an essential question for all applicants to be prepared for. While the alumni interviewer is not the one determining your financial aid offer, they may recommend you for necessary resources. Be honest about your financial situation and discuss any scholarships, grants, or loans you need to attend the school.
10. Do you have any questions for us?
Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the school and that you’ve done your research about it. Some good questions include: What opportunities are available for research projects? What kind of career counseling does the school offer? What percentage of students go on to graduate school? Avoid questions that you can easily answer from an internet search; instead, dig beyond the surface.
How to prepare for college interviews?
Let’s discuss how to prepare for college interviews and be confident to put your best foot forward. We’ll guide you through everything from researching common college interview questions ahead of time.
Do your research
Before going into your college interview, it is essential to research the range of college interview questions. This means familiarizing yourself with the school and its programs and the interviewer (if you know his or her name in advance). You should also clearly understand your goals and why you are interested in attending the school. By doing your research, you will be able to ask informed questions and make a good first impression on the interviewer.
Dress the part
Do you keep wondering how to prepare for college interviews? One important thing to remember during preparation is to dress appropriately for your college interview. This does not mean you need to wear a suit or anything too formal, but you should avoid wearing jeans or anything too casual. You want to dress in a way that shows you are serious about the interview and attending the school. Think clean, organized, and intentional.
Be prepared to answer common questions
Some questions are commonly asked in college interviews, so it is crucial to be prepared to answer them. Some of these common college interview questions include “Why are you interested in our school?”, “What are your goals after graduation?” and “What do you think makes you a good fit for our school?”. By preparing answers to these foundational questions, you will be able to showcase your best qualities and make a strong impression on the interviewer.
Ask thoughtful questions
In addition to being prepared to answer college interview questions, you should also ask thoughtful questions of your own during the interview. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the school and that you have done your research. Some good questions to ask include “What are the unique opportunities that this school offers?”, “What do students love most about attending here?” and “How have alumni been successful after graduation?”. Brainstorm your own questions, as well.
Follow up after the interview
Aside from knowing and answering college interview questions, you also need to follow up after your college interview with a thank-you note or email. This is another opportunity to show your interest in the school and solidify your relationship with the interviewer. Remember something specific that you discussed during the interview so that they remember who you are.
What are some red flags to watch out for during a college interview?
It’s essential to know what red flags to look out for during your college interview so that you avoid ending up in an awkward situation and find yourself vulnerable when applying for higher education. Glean some top insights into how to navigate the college interview process flawlessly.
- Lack of preparation: A lack of preparation is one of the giant red flags during a college interview. If the student needs to learn about the school or the program to which they are applying, it shows that they are not interested in attending. The student should be able to answer basic questions about the school, such as its location, size, and tuition.
- Poor personal hygiene: This includes things like bad breath, body odor, or unkempt hair. It shows that the student does not take care of themselves and may be unable to handle college life’s rigors.
- Inappropriate attire: Another thing to watch out for is inappropriate attire. The student should dress neatly and conservatively for the interview. Wearing overly casual clothes or revealing clothing is a major no-no.
- Bad manners: This includes chewing gum, interrupting the interviewer, or talking on your phone. It shows that you do not respect the interviewer or the process. During your college interview, respecting the admissions officer and their time is essential. This means not interrupting them when they speak, being rude or condescending, or talking over them. It is also necessary to avoid using profanity or making offensive jokes.
- Arrogance: Arrogance is a big no. This includes bragging about your accomplishments or putting down other students. It shows that you are not humble and may not be able to work well with others.
- Arriving late: If you arrive late to your college interview, it will send a red flag to the admissions officer. This shows that you are not respectful of other people’s time and do not value the opportunity to speak with them. If you are running late, call the admissions office and let them know so that they are prepared for you.
- Not answering questions: If you are asked a question during your college interview and refuse to answer it, it will send a red flag to the admissions officer. They may view this as you being uncooperative or unwilling to share information about yourself. Being open and honest when answering questions during your college interview is essential.
Don’t let the interview process intimidate you
Don’t let those nerves get the best of you. Prepare for your college interview with Empowerly! We’ll help you nail every question they throw your way. Be sure to go into your college interviews prepared. If you still feel unsure, check out our list of major college interview questions and answers again! Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more details about college admissions.