What Happens During a College Interview?

Flickr user City Year

While a majority of colleges don’t request an interview, some schools do make it part of the application process—even if optionally. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can make the college interview a bit less stressful.

The Basics

There are few colleges in the United States that make a college interview part of the application process, and some of these schools actually don’t even make it mandatory. However, if they give you the option to attend one or not, you should always say “Yes.” This extra steps provide you with the opportunity to make a great impression to your potential future school.

If you live close to the college, they may ask you to come into the school to interview with someone in administration or faculty. However, if you don’t live nearby, you might have the opportunity to interview with an alumnus from the college. Some schools understand though that you may not live near the college or an alumnus and will let you skip the interview with no harm done to your overall application.

Before your scheduled time, you should be well dressed, arrive early, and be polite to everyone you speak to.

They Ask Questions

Now, obviously, in a college interview, they’re going to ask questions. To start, there will probably be the more common examples such as “What can you tell me about yourself?” or “Why do you want to attend this school?” They’re very similar to questions you may be asked at a job interview. A few questions may also pertain to your major, your academic strengths and weaknesses, and where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years.

On the other hand, some of the questions may be less traditional. They might ask in depth about your hobbies, maybe something you mentioned on your essay, or your experiences while in high school. The interviewer may also ask you questions regarding your personality and other goals outside of your future career.

You Ask Questions

A college interview is not only a chance for the school to learn about you, but it’s also an opportunity for you to learn about the school. Almost all interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions before the session ends. Now is the time to find out what you want to know about the school.

However, make sure your questions are well researched. You don’t want to ask a question that is easily found online or even on their website. This can give the impression that you’re not fully invested in the school and haven’t even done basic research. Some questions that can give a great impression while answering your concerns should surround your specific interests or questions that are perfect for a graduate of the school. This could include asking questions that came out of your research or other thoughts like “How is the workload?”, “What did you think of the dorms?”, or similar questions.

Doing your research before a college interview can greatly help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes along with it! Your school may be different, but this is generally what you can expect to happen in your college interview.

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Hilary Cairns

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