College interviews can be as important to college acceptance as a job interview is to landing a coveted position in the professional world. If a college offers an interview opportunity, either on campus or with a local alumni in your community, you should take advantage of it. It is your chance to let your personality and passion show, and it is a great time to learn more about the college.
To make the most of your interview, remember these helpful tips:
- BE PROFESSIONAL. Dress appropriately. If the interview is on campus at the admissions office, you should wear a suit or other business attire. If the interview is at a local coffee shop, dress nicely but less formal. No flipflops, denim, or t-shirts from other colleges (yikes!).
- Mind your manners. Turn your phone off before going into the interview. Throw out your gum. Use appropriate language.
- Bring a copy of your resume, even if you have provided one previously.
- Arrive 10 minutes early. Even if you stand outside of the meeting place for a few minutes, you have time to relax and take a few breaths. You will be nervous, and rushing to arrive will only make your anxiety worse.
- Do your research. Before the interview, research the college’s history, traditions, and statistical facts. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions about the things that are most important to you.
- Think before you speak. Use eye contact and clearly communicate with confidence. Avoid one word responses and long ramblings.
- Remember that you are the interviewer, also. You are trying to decide if this college is a good fit for you. Be prepared to ask questions that can’t be answered by the college’s website.
- Expand the discussion. This is your chance to give them deeper insight into your talents, interests, and dreams. Talk about your favorite activities, how you envision your future, and the impact you hope to have on the college’s campus.
- Bring energy! You may have all the intelligence and talent in the world, but you need to show your passion.
- Show interest. Let the interviewer know how much you would like to attend that university.
- Follow up. Get contact information for the person you meet with and send a thank-you note. Thank the interviewer for the time he or she spent and any information the person shared with you. You should also follow up with the admissions office and share that the interview took place.
It is a good idea to practice your interview skills with a trusted adult who can give you tips on your performance. If you put effort into your preparation, you can expect a much more relaxed, confident presence on the big day.