5 Tips for Nailing Your College Interview

After months of filling out paperwork, writing essays, gathering test scores, and mailing applications, there’s one more hurdle to your college admissions process: interviews. Colleges and programs that require interviews use them to assess you as an individual and determine if you’re a good fit. You’re likely to get nervous in the days leading up to your interviews, but some preparation can help you build confidence and equip you for success. Follow these tips to nail this leg of the college admission process.

Prepare

From the clothes you wear to the questions you have about the university, it’s vital that you prepare for the interview. Follow these steps to ensure you’re prepared:

Pick your outfit: Your clothes will help you make a good first impression. They’ll also show that you’re serious about attending the school. Approach the college interview process with the same professionalism that you give to job interviews.

Research the college: Perform additional research beyond what you did when applying to schools. Learn as much as possible about the college to ensure you’re informed during the interview.

Draft some questions: The interview is a chance for the university to determine if you’re a good fit. But it’s also a time for you to decide if you really want to attend. If any questions come to mind during your research, write them down. If you can’t find answers online, ask them of your interviewer. You should also ask any questions that will help you decide if the college is a good fit for you.

Update and Study Your Resume

Next, review your resume. If you have anything to add to it, do so before leaving to visit your colleges. Many interviewers start the conversation by going over your resume or asking that you walk them through it. Be prepared to expand on the points in that document and discuss any achievements that you’re especially proud of or that are particularly relevant to the college or program you’re applying to.

Practice

Practice answering some basic questions that you’re likely to encounter during the interview, like “Tell me more about yourself” and “Why are you interested in this college?” You should also practice being polite, smiling, not rambling, and providing answers that highlight your strengths or interest in the university.

Arrive on Time

Arriving late will start your interview off on the wrong foot and make a poor first impression. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive promptly, and look up or ask for directions ahead of the interview. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to give a good first impression and give yourself time to gather your thoughts, take a breath, and begin your interview with confidence.

Follow Up

A day or two after your visit, write a thank-you note to reiterate your interest in the university and your appreciation for the interest in you. This is a good practice that will help you stand out from other applicants.

College interviews can be intimidating, but they’re an excellent opportunity to show your strengths and let your personality shine through. Practice the tips above to give the best possible impression and ace your interviews.

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