Even though most colleges do not require that you have an interview, an interview can have a positive effect on your college application. Think of it as a super personal supplement to your paper application.
There are different types of college interviews. You might meet with an admissions officer on campus or an alumnus in your area. Whoever you wind up meeting with, an interview helps to demonstrate your interest in a school and what you can bring to campus.
Here are 6 tips to keep in mind during a college interview:
1. Be confident but not cavalier; Be humble but not self-conscious
Confidence is not the same as cocky, and humble is not the same as stilted. Know the difference before you head into an interview. The trick is to be comfortable in acknowledging your accomplishments and your strengths, but not too comfortable in self-congratulating yourself. Even if you’re a bit nervous going into the interview, try to feel and look comfortable while sitting down with your interviewer.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s too cocky to say and what works:
|Overly Confident||Overly Timid||Just Right|
|This is will be the most interesting interview you’ve ever had.||I’m sure you had plenty of other, more important things to do today.||It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for making time for this interview.|
|High school? I OWNED high school.||No one noticed me in high school.||I’m most proud of helping to raise $120,000 for Children’s Memorial over my four years.|
|YOUR COLLEGE NEEDS ME.||I’d love to go to this college, but you guys probably have so many other better applicants.||I would love to attend this college, and think I could really add to the community.|
2. Be specific
It’s easy to fall into vague and ambiguous conversation. So, instead, think of 4-5 specific accomplishments, facts about yourself or whatever it is that you want to say to the interviewer if it fits in appropriately. Having these in mind before your interview will make it easier to think of during the actual conversation.
3. Avoid reiterating your resume
If your interviewer has a copy of your resume or application, do not simply repeat its contents verbatim. It will not only make you look like a robot, but the point of the interview is to put some life into your application. Tell your interviewer something about yourself that’s not in your resume or application already.
4. Explain flaws in your application
An in-person interview is a great time to explain some of the discrepancies in your application. For example, if you had a tumultuous sophomore year because you’d just moved to a new school and you had trouble keeping up with your grades, let them know. Be careful of getting into woe-is-me zone. You do not want to give a sob story or explain all of your hardships. Just state a couple facts that explain a bad semester.
5. Know about the school
Just like a job interview, it would be a pity to get the interview, and then not know anything about the company. Have substantial knowledge about the school you’re interviewing for. This will let your interviewer know that you are seriously considering the school. Drop hints about a program the college offers that you’re passionate about or a special fact about campus that interests you.
6. Ask your own questions
Yes, the interview is about you, but showing interest in the person you’re talking to never hurt anybody. Whether it’s dry questions about the admissions process or questions about their experience at the university, asking your own questions demonstrates a deeper interest in the college than a person who’s just there to talk about themselves.
Have you had a college interview? Any tips? Leave a comment!