College interviews used to play a much larger role in the admission process – so you may think they are more important than they actually are. Some colleges still do interview a majority of their applicants (Georgetown, MIT, Princeton), and some colleges really appreciate the opportunity
to share more about their campuses while learning more about each student who applies. So your college interview may be evaluative, but it may simply be informational. Either way, you shouldn’t stress out about it, because it probably won’t be the make-or-break component that gets you in or keeps you out.
So how should you approach your college interview? Michelle, Lesa and Evelyn share a little bit of advice in the video to the right.
Our biggest tips:
#1 Know who you’ll be interviewing with. Alumnus? Admissions staff person? Current student? The questions you’ll ask may be different depending on who interviews you. An alumnus may not have been to campus recently, but you could ask a current student what’s new and exciting on campus. An admission officer may or may not have graduated from the school, so they may not have personal knowledge of the student experience – but they may be the first person who will read your application! Even if your college interview is informational, as opposed to evaluative (as would likely be the case if you interview with an alum or a current student), your goal is the same:
Be memorable and likeable!
#2 Do your research and be specific! This applies both to the questions you should ask and to the responses you should give to the interviewer’s questions. When they ask you what academic subject(s) you plan to study, or about your extra-curricular activities, remember that many high school students have the same aspirations and do the same activities. So your challenge is to be specific – what makes chemistry or public policy or anthropology interesting TO YOU? It’s more than a one-word answer – show them that you’ve put some thought into your upcoming intellectual pursuits. You’ll also want to show in your college interview that you’ve researched the college – the one they attend or attended or work for – and that you have some specific thoughts about why it’s a good fit for you. All of these will help add to your being memorable and likeable!
#3 Follow up! Make sure to thank your interviewer at the end, and ask if you can follow up if you have any subsequent questions. You’ll also want to reach out after you receive your admission decision – especially if you learn you’ve been wait listed – to continue the conversation.
We’ve put together some additional advice to help you ace your college interview – you can download that here:
Acing Your College Interview – Magellan College Counseling
And finally, here are some quick Dos and Don’ts for your college interviews from Connecticut College.
Best of luck with your college interviews!