Crush your college admission interview

Posted on August 21st, 2019 to College Admission

Many colleges and universities include evaluative interviews as part of their application process. In my experience the lead up to the interview can be overwhelming and anxiety inducing to students. There is the mystery of a new experience, the fear of failure, and the pressure of impressing someone who is influential in the admission decision. With that in mind it’s important to see that interviews are an opportunity! There is an organic flow to a conversation that just cannot be replicated anywhere else in the application. This works to your advantage because you can provide deeper insights to your experience that you might not be able to offer in the application itself. With a little bit of preparation you candefine which personal anecdotes you want to highlight, which will ultimately minimize some of your anxiety and ensure for a really great interview!

Before we get to the preparation though, let’s explore how the interview is considered in the admission process. It’s just another piece of the puzzle. Admission offices use it as a tool to gain further depth into who you are. During the application review process, schools are trying to vet if you are a good fit for their institution from both an academic and social standpoint. Interviews provide insight into your interpersonal interactions–in other words, they can get a sense of your social fit for the institution. When I was an admission officer I also interviewed students when I needed some additional context about their situation (usually academic related); an interview offered me as the space to learn more about the student so I could make an informed decision about his/her fit for the institution.

So, how should you handle a college admission interview? Well here are 4 simple steps to help you nail it:

  1. Practice! Often this is the first time a teenager has had to interview for something so big in their life. So grab some go to admission interview questions, and practice. Practice in a mirror; practice in front of a camera; practice with a trusted adult. Just practice!
  2. Bring your resume and transcript! I always appreciated students who brought these with them to the interview. It gave me something to refer to during and after the interview; I think students also found it helpful because if they were panicking they had a cheat sheet!
  3. Dress the part! You want to get accepted right?! We’ll dress like you mean it. This doesn’t mean buying expensive threads! Khakis, slacks/skirt, blazer, blouse and a tie are solid pieces you can combine for a sharp look. They are items you can buy at any department store and thrift store or borrow from a relative or friend. Keep the tank tops and skinny jeans for movie night with your friends.
  4. Send a thank you note! The trick of the interview is to keep the conversation going after you have left. The best way to open that door is to send a thank you note. You should go beyond saying thank you, be sure to include a question or two–that’s what will keep the conversation going! While everyone appreciates a handwritten note, you may want to seriously consider sending an email. It’s easier for an admission officer to respond to your email with answers to your follow up questions.

Follow these simple steps and you will crush your next admission interview! If you want more in depth help preparing, let me know. I’m here to help!

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