As you prep for your college interviews, it is important to be cognizant of the types of questions the admissions counselors are likely to pose. You should definitely be prepared to answer the following two questions:
“Tell me about yourself”. It’s an appropriate interview opening and I strongly suggest you practice this one, over and over again. Why? Since you will most probably be nervous and once you confidently respond, you will feel more relaxed and things will move smoothly from there.
“Why do you want to attend this college?”
This is another question that you better know the answer to! Why else would you be applying?!? Do your research, make sure you understand on a deeper level why you want to attend their school and be able to express it accordingly to them.
Here Are Some Other Questions that You May Be Asked During a College Interview
General Background Questions
Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your family.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
What is your favorite subject in high school?
What do you want to study in college?
What are three interesting things about you that I wouldn’t know from your application?
What do you do for fun?
What three adjectives best describe you?
What makes you unique?
College Specific Questions
Why will you be a good fit for our school? What can you contribute?
What other colleges/universities are you applying to?
What are you looking forward to most about the transition from secondary school to a university?
How do you plan to contribute to our community?
What characteristics or qualities are you looking for in a college/university?
Why do you want to go to college?
How has high school prepared you for college?
What do you hope to gain from your undergraduate experience?
Accomplishments / Results Type Questions
What are some of your biggest achievements during high school?
What are your greatest strengths as a person?
What are your academic strengths?
Questions Related to Adaptability & Resilience
What is an example of an obstacle, a failure, or a mistake that you learned from?
What do you think will be the most challenging part of the transition to college for you?
Describe a difficult situation in your life and how you overcame that.
Reflect either on something that doesn’t come as naturally or a particularly difficult experience in the thing you love.
Questions About Your Activities & Interests
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the classroom?
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in class?
Do you play a sport or participate in any team activities?
What has made you stick with an activity/interest for years?
Thought Provoking Questions
What, if anything, would you change about your high school?
What book have you read lately or one that you would recommend?
What is your greatest high school experience?
Do you regret anything about high school?
Whom do you most admire? (or) Who/what inspires you?
Tell me about an influential person in your life (teacher, coach, etc.).
Questions You Should Ask the Interviewer
As much as you are being asked questions, the interviewer will inevitably ask you if you have any questions for them. Always have two to three questions in your hip pocket, and not questions that can be answered from viewing their website. Certainly ask questions that are of interest to you that will allow you to gain valuable insight to who they are, things like:
What qualifications for a prospective student, aside from grades, stand out to you?
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing freshmen?
How do you help transition incoming freshmen to your college?
Does your school have any plans to grow or change over the next five years?
You get the gist.
The Importance of Preparing for Your College Interview
Don’t ever underestimate how important preparation is for anything, but specifically for your college interview. If an interview is offered, take it. Zero doubt on that one. As long as you prepare and understand how to portray yourself in a college interview, this will only play to your advantage. You are being asked to do so since they want to get to know more about you than you can portray on your application. This is where the human side of your application can shine and you can show them you. How great is that? You want to be you. Interviewing is not about being someone you’re not. It’s just a time where you want to be the best “you” you can be. You will come across genuine and, in reality, it’s who you want them to get to know.
Showing the Interviewer the REAL You
The interview is the time for you to score points, put some more items on your plus side of the equation. You want to give the college admissions counselor a reason to select you to attend their college. Our Signature College Counseling interview prep team during our interview preparation process asks students to identify their themes. What does this mean? These are the main ideas you want to communicate to the person interviewing you, and in turn the college, of who you are. Once you have these themes identified, you can take any question thrown your way.
Think about your themes (3-5 themes is a good idea) and you will be able to answer them. Things to think about when developing your themes are “Who am I?” – identifying your characteristics, but not listing your biographical information, as in where you are from and where you were born, unless there are some interesting facts pertaining to that. Your themes can be from something you have learned or done, like traveling or books you have read. Examples of themes can be playing lacrosse, being a part of the drama club, playing the violin, passionate about politics, focused on computer coding, hobby taking photographs, and so on. You get the idea. Everyone has themes, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have, or have not, been involved in. Trust me on this one.
Some General Interview Tips
Try to stay relaxed during the interview. I know it’s easier said than done, but being prepared to answer the above questions will help you do so. Rehearse your responses to the questions over and over again. Practice makes perfect! Make eye contact and shake hands firmly (practice your handshake too if your interview will be in person). Be enthusiastic, smile and enjoy yourself. As much as the colleges are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. Bring a notepad and pen and you can have written notes on your talking points and your themes. How great is that! Dress comfortably, but appropriately.
All of us at Signature College Counseling hope you do well on your college interviews and if you need any help with your preparation, we have experienced interview prep coaches to guide you through. See our interview preparation services by clicking on this link: https://www.signaturecollegecounseling.com/college-planning-services/college-interview-preparation/
Looking for help with the college admissions process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey from search, and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students in person, through Zoom, over the phone and by email.