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7 Ways to Prepare for a College Interview ...

By Michelle

It’s easy to get lost in the college process and get tongue-tied when trying to figure out how to prepare for a college interview. But no need to fear, I’m here to help! Last year I had the opportunity to take a communication class where we focused on preparing for a college interview. These are a few of the tips I learned and found helpful!

1 Research

No matter what college you plan to interview for, make sure to do your research! One way to prepare for a college interview is to browse the college website and get familiar with their mission statement. Your interview will be more powerful if you tie in qualities that you have that correlate with what the school values. For example, if they have a strong stance on volunteering, you might highlight some of the volunteer work you’ve done. It will help you when it comes time for that real interview.

2 Peruse Questions

When it comes time for the college interview, the questions aren’t going to be about your grades or schoolwork. Instead, they want to know about you! Look up some commonly asked questions and jot down ideas so that you don’t get taken off-guard when the admissions interviewer asks you to recommend a good book to them. You won’t know exactly what they will ask but you will be more confident with what you’ve prepared. Any prep-work can help!

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3 Prepare Questions

My teacher taught us to go prepared with at least two questions to ask the interviewer. It should be things that you can’t learn on the website, such as “Do you offer study abroad?” One of my college interviews consisted of me asking a series of questions and then the interviewer thanking me for my time. I was quite surprised that it went that way, but with at least two solid questions prepared, I felt more at ease. My favorite one to ask is, “What do your graduates walk away with after four years that other students don’t?”

4 Relax

Interviewing for your dream-school can be both exhilarating and anxiety-producing. Relax! Being yourself is the best you can ask for. And interviewers like to see that you feel comfortable with them and on campus. Consider taking deep breaths beforehand. Or do jumping jacks to increase blood flow and release anxiety. Waken up the tongue with tongue-twisters to help unwind.

5 Be in the Moment

During the interview, you may be racing to remember what your page-long answer was to what activities you do in your free-time. I can remember preparing for the mock-interview in class. I had combed through my answers to what I thought the interviewer would want to hear. Yet during the actual interview, I found myself talking about my 13-year-experience as an Irish dancer. It wasn’t planned but I went with it. Being in the moment helps you not sound like a tape-recorder and not get lost as soon as you talk about a new topic, such as I did with the Irish dancing.

6 Connect

An essential part of an interview is to connect with the interviewer. If they feel like you are distant, cold, or self-focused, it makes it harder for them. The conversation should flow. Shake their hand when you enter the room. Make eye-contact. Don’t cut them off as they ask a question with your anticipation for an answer. Lean into the flow, don’t push for a foundation because you won’t make a good impression if you do.

7 Attire

It’s important to dress clean when going to an interview. This means more than one thing. Pull your hair out of face so that the interviewer isn’t distracted with fly-aways that make you look disheveled. Clothes should be washed with no rips; it makes you more polished. You don’t need to look like you stepped out of a fashion magazine, but making sure you look presentable is important. After all, it is their first impression of you.

Preparing for a college interview can be an anxiety-inducing experience. It’s important to keep in mind these tips during that college-search-madness. This is your opportunity to show the school what your application can’t: your spirit. What do you think is your biggest asset going into the interview? Did any of these suggestions register with you?

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