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How to Have Success During College Interviews

Updated on March 11, 2011

You have applied to a college. They are interested in you but they want to know more than what they can find out from the piece of paper that is your application. They want to talk to you in person and are interested in having you come in for a college interview. How does this make you feel?

Students to have two reactions to the idea of going to a college interview:

1.     Excitement. Some students really thrive in face-to-face interviews. They find them thrilling and exciting and energizing. They love the idea of allowing someone to get to know them for who they are in person rather than how they look on paper.

2.     Terror. The majority of students don’t fall into the first category of people who get excited about college interviews. Instead, they feel terrified at the idea of having to apply to college through a face-to-face interview. Most college students are young and haven’t done a lot of interviewing in their lives so this is something new and that can be intimidating and scary.

Which of these two categories do you fall into? Either way, you need to make sure that you get a grip on your emotions. Those people who feel excited obviously have it easier since this just involves reigning in the excitement a little bit in order to put on a professional appearance at the interview. It’s okay to be enthusiastic at your interview, as long as you are professional as well, so if you’re excited about your college interviews then you’re a step ahead of most people. But don’t worry, if you’re one of the many people who feel terrified about going to college interviews then you just need to do a little bit of extra preparation to help quell those frightened feelings so that you can be successful at the interview.

Preparing for a College Interview

The most important thing that you can do if you want to be successful at your college interview is to prepare for the experience. This will help calm you down and keep you focused so that you can present your best self at the interview and increase the chance that the interview will go well. Here are some of the key things that you can do to prepare for a college interview:

o   Make a list of the key things that you want to highlight in your interview. Of course, you cannot control what questions the interviewer is going to ask you. Nevertheless, you can keep in your mind what major things you want to highlight about yourself as you answer the questions that they do ask. Some of those things will include your best personality traits, the features that make you a great student, your academic success, your community involvement and the reasons that you are especially interested in being a student at this particular school. Brainstorm a complete list of these things and then prepare a single sentence that highlights each of those points.

o   Do mock interviews to get prepared for the real thing. This will give you an opportunity to practice those things that you want to highlight about yourself in the interview. It will allow you to find a way to say them naturally and comfortably so it’s not awkward when it comes time for the real interview. It will also give you a chance to get more comfortable with interviews in general to reduce any feelings of fear that you may have about the experience. How do you do mock interviews? Your school counselor may be able to help you out. Otherwise ask teachers, family and friends to pretend to be the person interviewing you so that you can get some practice. You’ll find that most of the people in your life are happy to help!

o   Prepare a list of questions that you want to know about the college. These should be questions that you can’t find answers to just by researching the college online. For example, you wouldn’t need to ask how many students attend the school because you can get the information online but you could certainly ask the interviewer for information about what type of student tends to be most successful at the school. Aim for three to five thoughtful questions to ask at the interview. You can bring the list along with you to the interview so that you don’t forget to ask the questions; interviewers won’t frown on this at all. In fact, you’ll make a good impression because this shows that you truly have an interest in this school specifically, that you are able to think through the process and form intelligent questions and that you are committed to making the right choice about your own education. Additionally, the answers to these questions will help you decide in the end which school you want to attend if you succeed at all of your college interviews!

At the College Interview

Preparing for the college interview will be what really helps you be successful at the interview but these following “at the interview” tips can help as well:

o   Dress professionally. Pretend that you are going to a job interview.

o   Listen carefully to the questions that you are being asked. This allows you to mentally prepare the best answer and to answer the question completely. Focusing in this way will also help reduce your anxiety levels during the interview.

o   Speak slowly and clearly.

o   Try not to be fake. This is a chance to show off your best you, not someone who isn’t you!

Not all students have to go through the college interview process in order to get into the school of their choice. However it is one way that colleges narrow down their admissions choices so it something you should be prepared for. 


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  • gajanis786 profile image

    gajanis786 6 years ago

    Excellent useful tips.....

  • FOREX NINJA profile image

    FOREX NINJA 6 years ago

    this is a nice hub. Thanks for sharing such information.

  • rachelsholiday profile image

    rachelsholiday 6 years ago

    Thank you for posting this! I'm working on my B.A. now, but I'm looking to my graduate work and I know that the interview process is much more common for M.A and Ph.D. degrees.

  • zeeshaa profile image

    zeeshaa 6 years ago

    i like your work . it is very useful. keep it up.