Ask Cappex: What is a College Interview Like?

In College Admissions on Jul 18, 2016

Our college expert Mark Kantrowitz answers your questions about college and financial aid.

Q: Some of the colleges I'm interested in require prospective students to complete an interview. What is a college interview like? What does the college interview process entail?

A: Most college admissions interviews are intended to evaluate applicants and to provide them with information. Relax, as the interview is usually not the deciding factor.

During the interview, you'll be asked some common questions about yourself, your academic history and your interest in the college. Answer positively and truthfully. Don't stretch the truth, even if you're worried your story isn't interesting or dramatic enough. The admissions team wants to get to know the real you. If possible, spin your answers to include information the college won't be able to glean from your application. 

After you've had a chance to talk a little about yourself, the interviewer may ask if you have any questions. This is a great time to ask any remaining questions you have about the college, its programs or your interviewer's background with the institution. Nervousness may make you forgetful, so write out a list of several questions in advance.

You'll want to be on your best interview behavior, but not too stiff and formal. The interviewer will want to get to know you, so be polite but friendly.

After the interview, send a thank you card or note to the interviewer. This will make a positive impression, since students often forget to say thank you.

With a little advance interview preparation, you can ensure you make a good impression on the admissions team and feel confident about your interview. 

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