College Interview Preparation: Getting Your Dream School
College Interview Preparation can be a daunting experience. Many students put immense pressure on themselves to perform flawlessly in their interviews. One of the biggest misconceptions about the interview process is that it is a test that you can either ace or fail. The interview is not an all or nothing examination; it is an opportunity for you to learn more about the school that you are applying to and highlight the work that you have done in high school. In addition, it is an opportunity to highlight the research that you have hopefully done about the school that you are applying to.
Questions to ask yourself
Of course, individual interviewers will conduct the interview in different ways. That being said, most interviewers allow you to guide the conversation. Because you will most likely be speaking for the majority of the interview, you have the opportunity to focus on what is most important to you. Reframing your college interview preparation as an opportunity to reflect on what is important you, can be an anxiety-reducing approach. Here are some questions that can help guide your college interview preparation:
- What are the moments that stand out to you in your memory of high school? The reason that this is an important question is that it can help you get to the bottom of what you prioritize in your experience. In other words, it can help you investigate what you value.
- If this question is difficult for you, trying asking yourself: Are there any turning points that you can identify that occurred during your high school years? These turning points could be intellectual or emotional. Try considering a moment when you uncovered a new interest, realized something about yourself, or understood something new about the world.
- Why do you really want to go to the school that you are interviewing for? If this is a difficult question for you to answer, it is time to go to the drawing board! If you have a particular academic area of interest, research that academic department at the school that you are applying to. Find a professor that you may be excited to work with, look at clubs or subcommunities that play an active role at that school, and try to learn more about the surrounding city or town. Now, more than ever, it is easy to research different colleges and universities. Most have online virtual tours and readily available contact information.
Questions to ask your interviewer
When it comes to college interview preparation, make a list of the topics that you want to cover. Writing information down can be a wonderful way to commit this information to memory. In addition, it can be wise to brainstorm a list of questions that you can ask your interviewer. Don’t hesitate to bring a few notes to your interview with written questions. Do what you can to make yourself feel comfortable. Here are some possible questions:
- What did you enjoy most about your experience at x school?
- How did your experience at x school compare to your expectations of that experience?
- What do you wish you had known before applying or deciding to attend x school?
Applicants are often hesitant to admit the gaps in their knowledge during college interview preparation. There is nothing wrong with admitting to not knowing an answer. The interview is just as much an opportunity to learn more about the school, as it is for the interviewer to learn about you. Because most interviews are conducted by alumni, it can be great to learn the firsthand experience of a former student. Most importantly, asking these questions can help determine whether the school is a good fit for you!
Break a leg
If you approach your college interview preparation sincerely, your interview is bound to go well. Prepping for your interview can create the space for you to truly engage with your curiosity. That curiosity will shine through in your interview, no matter what questions the interviewer may ask. Before you go into your interview, take a deep breath and remember that you know yourself better than anyone else does! You are prepared to represent and share your story, your passions, and your hopes.