How to Prepare For A University Admission Interview

Here are some tips on preparing for your admissions interview

Flickr user David Davies

It’s finally happened. After months of spending hours every day creating customized applications, avoiding common mistakes, and submitting them to various colleges, you’ve received an invite for a university admissions interview. You’re excited but you’re also nervous at the same time. The admissions interview is the last obstacle that stands between you and that college seat. You know you have to nail a college interview to beat the strong competition but where do you start and how do you prepare for a university admission interview? These tips will help you.

Go Through The University Website…Again

You would have already gone through the university website when short-listing colleges and you have a pretty good idea of the courses they offer and other on-campus facilities. However, chances are you won’t remember all of the minute details. At the interview, the admissions panel will ask you questions pertaining to your choices. Why did you choose this particular college? Why did you choose a specific course? Going through the university website again will help you give more compelling and convincing answers to these questions.

Exploring the website thoroughly will also help you ask more relevant questions when it is your turn to ask questions. Asking insightful questions shows that you have taken the trouble to go through the college website. This is something the interviewers are sure to appreciate. If you skip the in-depth website exploration, chances are high that you may ask questions about information that is already published on the college website. This could cost you the interview and a place at the college.

Give Some Thought To How You Will Answers Commonly Asked University Interview Questions 

You cannot predict all the questions that the admissions panel will ask you at the university interview but there are a few questions that college admissions panels ask almost every applicant. Some commonly asked admission interview questions include:

  • Tell us something about yourself.
  • What motivated you to choose this particular course?
  • Why did you choose our university?
  • Have you done anything that demonstrates your interest in this field?

All of these sound like pretty straightforward questions. However, they are incredibly difficult to answer, especially when you consider that your replies must be compelling and impressive enough to make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Try giving an impromptu reply to the question “Tell me something about yourself”. Do you know what you will say? Can you think of what to say and how to say it so that you come across as smart, sincere and hardworking, but without sounding like you are bragging? It’s not easy.

How about answering the question, “Why are you interested in this particular subject?” Can you come up with a compelling answer on the spot or will you resort to giving a banal reply that does not sound convincing enough?

Spending some time thinking about your replies is well worth it. It will help you think of the right things to say so you can answer more confidently without stumbling and fumbling for ideas and words.

Be careful not to overdo the practicing though. You don’t want to sound too rehearsed at the interview. The idea is to be relaxed and confident.

Go Through Your Application & Your Personal Statement Thoroughly

Before you go in for your interview, the members on the interview panel will go through your entire application in detail. They will make notes about what you’ve said, what you’ve done, your academic record, extracurricular activities and all other relevant information. They will pay special attention to your personal statement. They will then ask you questions that are directly related to the details included in your application and what’s written in your personal statement.

Do you remember all of these details? Chances are you would have submitted the application a while ago and do not remember all of the details. Going through your application and personal statement thoroughly and making checklists before the interview will help refresh your memory so you do not mistakenly refute any information.

Make A List Of Questions To Ask The Interviewing Panel

As mentioned earlier, the interviewing panel will give you the opportunity to ask them questions too. The key to asking the right questions is to go through the college website and make notes of the information that is missing and that you want to know more about. Write down all the questions on a note pad so you can quickly refer to it before you walk into the interview room.

Do A Few Mock Interviews

Doing mock interviews will help you get over your nervousness and bolster your confidence. Having the answers to all the questions is not enough. How you deliver the answers matters too. Do your answers sound too rehearsed? Do you say ‘ummm’ a lot while answering interview questions? Are you likely to forget your answers? Mock interviews highlight these issues so you know which areas you need to improve upon.

Ask a family member or a friend to help you out. If you can, request your career advisor to do a practice run. Have them ask you all kinds of questions that are typically asked at university admission interviews and ask them to give you feedback on your performance so you know which areas need improvement. Work on your weaker areas and do another mock interview a few days later. Keep working on improving your answers and your delivery till you feel you have nailed it and are all ready for the real interview.

Plan Your Route

It is really important to do this in advance. You want to make 100% sure that you are on time for the interview. In fact, you should aim to be at the venue at least fifteen to twenty minutes before the scheduled time. Planning your route in advance will help immensely and also give you one less thing to worry about on a day when you are likely to already have a lot on your mind.

Think about how you are going and how long it will take you. Are you driving there? Consider the traffic at the time, which route you should take and what time you need to leave home. Are you taking public transportation? Check the bus or train timings and the frequency and figure out what time you need to leave home to make it for your transport.

Keep Everything Ready At Least One Day Before

Don’t keep anything for the last minute. Keep all your documents in one folder, ready to go. Think about what you are going to wear and keep your interview clothes ready to go. You don’t want to be thinking about what to wear on the morning of the interview.

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