Not all colleges offer interviews, but if a college you’re applying to does offer them, you want to take advantage. Rather than walk through the details of how and when to sign up (your college counselor will do that), this blog post will highlight two of the many advantages of college interviews.
An opportunity to reiterate your interest in and excitement for the school
Your college interviewer will almost certainly ask you why you’re interested in school X. For one, they’re genuinely interested in your answer. Moreover, they want to see that you actually know a thing or two about the school and aren’t simply applying because the school sits high atop some ranking system or something like that. This leads us to:
College Interview Tip #1
Before the interview, research the school as much as possible and make a list of specific, substantive features of the school that excite you such as cool majors, dual degree programs, research opportunities, professors, etc. Avoid things like weather or the fact that the school is located in or near your favorite city.
Remember, too, that it’s not just what we say but also how we say it. This leads us to:
College Interview Tip #2
Be enthusiastic! You should laugh, show personality, and radiate excitement as much as possible. You don’t have to stand in a mirror and try to master that “genuine excitement” look on your face. Just be yourself and try your best to communicate all of those exciting “this school and I are meant to be” feelings that you’re feeling on the inside.
An opportunity to gain helpful information from the interviewer themself
Your interviewer likely graduated from the school and is likely just doing this for fun. They’ll be more than happy to talk about their experiences at the school. What this means for you is this:
Come prepared with questions for your interviewer. These shouldn’t be anything you can easily find the answer to online. Rather, come prepared with questions about the interviewer’s experience at school X:
- What’s one thing you know now about school X and wish you would have known before?
- How would you characterize the overall culture of the school?
- Did you have any favorite professors or classes?
Questions like these are a great way to build a connection with the interviewer and, just as importantly, they enable you to learn a ton about the school.
Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into college interviews than what I mentioned above. Your college counselor will provide a much more in-depth overview of this.
Overall, though, I want to encourage everyone to view college interviews not as a chore or as another annoying way in which universities want to make us nervous and assess us, but rather as an opportunity to add life and personality to our applications.