How to prepare for a college admissions interview

Although many schools do not require mandatory interviews for prospective students, they can be a great way to set yourself apart from other applicants. More students are applying to colleges and universities than ever before, so attending an interview may be worth considering. But how do you prepare for a college admissions interview? What kinds of questions will they ask you? Follow these tips to prepare yourself for a college admissions interview.

Do your research – Although college admissions officials have never been busier, don't assume that your interview is just a formality, as a good interview can really help set your application apart from the crowd. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the school's history, its goals and its mission statement. Browsing a college's website is a great way to learn about a school and come up with a list of questions to ask your interviewer.

Make it a conversation – The primary purpose of a college admissions interview is for admissions officials to review your application and learn more about you, but don't be afraid to ask questions and make the experience more of a two-way dialogue. Make sure that you're actively involved in the interview, and treat it as you would a conversation – asking questions shows that you're interested and serious about attending the school.

Be yourself – College admissions officials might see hundreds of applicants during the interviewing process, so don't try to appear like something you're not. Although you should take the interview seriously, college admissions officials will want to see the real you, so don't say or do things you think they want to hear. Also, if you're a little shy, try and think of the interview as an excuse to come out of your shell a little bit. The admissions officers realize that you're under a lot of pressure, so don't worry about being a bit nervous.

Sound natural, not rehearsed – You should definitely invest some time in making sure you're properly prepared for your interview, as you don't want to sound like you're reading from cue cards. Try to relax and sound as natural as possible. You should also avoid rehashing or restating information that you submitted during your application. Give the college admissions officials something new.

Dress appropriately – Most students probably don't dress in a suit and tie every day, but you should make sure that you're dressed for success. Make sure that you're properly groomed and that your clothes are ironed. What to wear might change slightly depending on the school you're interviewing at, but you should appear clean and smart regardless of where you're interviewing.

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  1. Susie Watts says:

    As a private college planner, I always suggest students have a question or two that they ask in their interviews. These should be questions that cannot be answered by the website or brochure that colleges send. Two questions I think are good: “If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?” Another is, “What kind of students would not be happy here.”

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