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Tips on how to ace a college interview

Interview at a college is very different than a typical job interview. The principal differences are:

  • People who interview you at school are not skilled HR professionals (they are teachers and administrators working at the school).
  • The interview is usually short– 30 minutes or less, sometimes as little as ten minutes.
  • They will ask mostly about your personality, and attitude to studies, future, and life. You will not have to answer any technical or difficult behavioral questions.

Taking into account the specifications of college interviews, let’s have a look at some tips. They should help you succeed and secure your place in the study program.

 

Choose the right strategy

Personal preferences play a huge role in the college interview.

People sitting in the interviewing panel do have neither skills nor time to scientifically analyze your interview answers. If they like you as a person, if your non-verbal communication is good, if they can see the value you can bring to the school as a student, they will accept your application.

To improve your chances of meeting their approval, try to do the following.

  • Smile most of the time, think positively about your interviewers, and also about your chances to succeed.
  • Keep eye contact with the members of the interviewing panel.
  • Show honest interest for the people in the room, their job, and their institution. Give them some questions, show them that you care about them.

Show them the value you can bring to their college

At the end of the day, interviewers care also for their business.

If they choose you, and not someone else, how will their school benefit from that choice?

Show them the value you can bring. Perhaps you can participate in the football team, or organize some events, or apply for a job of a residency assistant? Try to convince them that you want to give something back to the community while studying at the college.

 

Honesty will take you a long way

Do not try to tell them that you will spend all your time studying books and learning. They know that the reality of student life is different.

Showing your weaknesses and speaking about your free time activities (and it doesn’t really matter what kind of activities you mention) will make you look more human in their eyes.

College interviews are not easy, but once you understand what matters in them, and demonstrate the value you will bring to the college community, they will accept your application (at least most of the time).

Continue your interview preparation with the following articles: