Though often not mandatory, going to a college interview is a great way to boost your acceptance odds. Getting invited to interview means the college is impressed with you and wants to get to know you better. This is one of the final steps in the college application process. An outstanding performance in the interview will tip the scales in your favor. One way to prepare for this important event is to practice the answers potential college interview questions over the summer.
Common college interview questions!
It’s impossible to know exactly what questions you’ll be asked at your interview, but don’t let that stop you. Practicing how to answer some of the more common college interview questions will help boost your confidence.
Tell me about yourself
Answering this question is tougher than you think. Go ahead and try right now! How do you paraphrase your whole life or personality to a few sentences? It’s tricky to say anything impressive on the spur of the moment. Spend time brainstorming what to say. Avoid clichés and other common phrases to describe yourself. Instead, choose a passion, interest, or hobby to talk about. Once you’ve chosen one area to highlight, spend time rehearsing how you’re going to answer it.
Why are you interested in our college?
‘Because it’s good’ is a vague answer that won’t impress. A general answer about ranking and reputation won’t do yo
u much good either. Interviewers want to know that you’re serious about attending their school. Do your research. Be specific about what drew you to that college. Was it a particular academic program, their extracurricular facilities, or maybe the cultural values of the school? Highlighting one or two features that appealed to you shows that you’re genuinely interested in that particular college.
How will you contribute to our college community?
Colleges look for students who will contribute in some way to the college community. They want students who will diversify the community with their unique contributions. So how will you do this? To answer this college interview question, think about what makes you uniquely you. Emphasize how this unique quality of yours will make a difference in the classroom or on the campus. Don’t waffle around. Be specific about your contribution.
What do you want to major in? Why?
How you answer this will depend on whether you’ve already decided on a major or not.
If you’ve indicated on your application that you’re interested in a certain major, be prepared to explain why. Give some thought to your explanation when practicing your answers to college interview questions over the summer. Talk about what triggered your interest in that major, why you find it fascinating, or how it will help you achieve your career goals.
If you haven’t decided on a major yet, that’s okay. Better to say so outright rather than lie about your potential major. Many students start college unsure about their major so the interviewers won’t be surprised or disappointed. A great answer would be to say that you have several interests and need to take more classes to make the right choice.
What do you see yourself doing 5 or 10 years from now?
No, the interviewers don’t expect you to have the next 10 years all figured out. In asking this question, they’re just trying to understand if you’ve given some thought to your long-terms goals. And this is not limited to professional goals. It could be a specific sporting title you wish to win. Or it could be some research you hope to complete to make a positive impact on the world. Your 10-year plan doesn’t have to be super ambitious. What’s important is to be honest when answering this question. That will make it easier for you to explain it more convincingly.
Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome
The aim here is to determine how you resolve challenges that you’re faced with. Do you have good problem solving skills? College life has its own unique set of challenges. How will you navigate these issues when they arise? During your summer practice sessions, think about one struggle that you’ve faced and how you rose to the occasion. Ideally, talk about a challenge that helped shape your character and made you who you are today.
Which is your favorite book?
Remember you won’t get away with just naming a book. You will have to highlight why you chose that particular book as your favorite. It’s such a simple question but your answer will reveal a lot about you. Make sure you choose a good book and actually read it before your college interview.
Who do you most admire?
The person you choose says a lot about what character traits you value most in the people you look up to. In answering this question you will be expected to explain your choice. When brainstorming an answer, don’t limit your choices to well-known public figures or celebrities. If the person you admire most is your neighbor who works tirelessly for the community, go with that. What’s important is to be specific when explaining WHY you choose the person you did.
How did you spend the summer?
This college interview question is one of the easiest to answer provided you actually spent time doing something productive. Didn’t take up a job or any classes during the summer? No problem. You can still talk about something you did that ended up being a learning experience.
What can I tell you about our school?
Here, the interviewer is giving you the opportunity to ask whatever questions you have on your mind. This is also their way of finding out if you’ve done your research on their school. Avoid asking questions about the number of majors the college offers or about their sports teams. This information is readily available on the school’s website. Asking these questions shows that you didn’t take the time to do your homework and are essentially unprepared.
Practicing answers to college interview questions will help you come across as confident, sincere, and genuinely interested in that college. This will give you the edge over other equally qualified applicants who didn’t take the trouble to practice their answers.
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