College Interview Tips- What to do and what not to do
These are the golden rules I follow when preparing my students for their interviews: Be yourself, know why you want to attend, ask questions that you can’t find on their website that are of interest to you and practice, practice, practice! This isn’t rocket science but winging it won’t work. See below for my notes, in no particular order, and heed my advice:
– Think of the interview as a 2 way conversation
– Bring questions that you would like answered
– Need to know why you want to attend this school
– Who inspires you
– Interviews range from informational to being evaluative
– Interviews can also be the ability for the college to sell themselves
– Even with an interview that is not evaluative, it is still written up and reported
– Interviewing is a reciprocal process
– Student should be engaged and conversation should be a dialogue
– Looking for self awareness, reflection, ability to think critically
– What are you proud of? How do you hope to grow? What are your challenges?
– If given an esoteric question, such as if you were a tree what tree would you be, OK to say “I’m not sure but when I think about trees this is what I feel”
– What issues are you concerned about?
– What do you think is good, or not so good, as to what is going on in the world?
– What is the difference between this school and others of the same size? What makes this school unique?
– Make an authentic presentation of who you are
– Who you are and what do you bring to the conversation
– Think about what the other person is interested in
– “Know thy self”
– Not looking for the canned speech
– What are the skills you have, what makes you tick
– Have your stories that demonstrate your skills
– Pre amble (chit chat, ice breakers), Open ended question (the real beginning), conversation/Q&A, questions for us, The closing question
– The Hand shake – grab the “web” of the hand, between the thumb and pointer, interviewer needs to feel the life in the student
– Be positive
– Develop your personal story – Not a travel log of your life – 1.5-2 minutes. This isn’t a speech
– What do your friends say you are good at, what do your parents brag to others about
– Find a theme – State it clearly and confidently, something you believe
– Interviewers typically make up their mind early on in the interview
– Never have a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression
– Even in an informative interview, make an impact, get your story across
– Know, to the best of your ability, what the college is looking for
– Do the research for the school to come up with questions to ask
– Don’t ask any question that you can find on the internet
– Questions: Things that the student is interested in doing at the school, specific programs that are not completely outlined on their web site
– If the student knows it is over and see the interviewer is having difficulty ending it, just stand up, shake hands, eyes meet eyes, “I appreciate your time”, and then ask the closing question “Have I given you all the information you need to provide a positive report?” – This has to be earned though, ask for the most positive commitment that the Interview earned
– Tell them a story about your strengths – Don’t just say you are hard working or a team player, tell the story
– Evidence of your skills
– Questions: Have 2 or 3 researched and written down. Can tell them you wrote them down, shows that you did your homework, things you are truly interested in
– Preparation includes practice, do it again and again and again
– If you are asking a question you are not sure you know the answer to, relay on how you handled something differently
– What is your greatest challenge, biggest weakness? Possibly greatest strength to an extreme – Not that you are a perfectionist!
– What do you know about us (the school)?
– 2 most important things: Authenticity and practice, don’t give a canned speech
– When you are not sure what to say, say “Let me think about that for a moment”
– Ok to make a few mistakes during the interview – makes you human
– The right answer is “Who are you?”