An interview is now often a major part of the college application process. Depending on how the school conducts interviews, there are various steps to take in getting prepared. Interviewing provides an opportunity to express your unique personality and start building a rapport with the college’s admissions personnel. Acing this step, however, requires preparation, so here are five tips that can help you win over your interviewer rather than intimidate them.
1. Think of Questions Ahead of Time
You’ve put some thought into why the school is so important to you. Gather some questions about the institution and its programs. The answers to these should not be on the front page of the website, or where it says click here. Rather, be creative, so when your interviewer asks if you have any questions, a few are already in mind.
2. Practice Your Interview Skills
It is indeed a skill to be interviewed. Like any other skill, mastering it requires practice. Simulated interviews are great for preparing, and you can do these with college counselors, teachers, and even parents and friends. Ask for feedback each time, so you know where to work on improvements. When it finally comes time to interview for admission, you will have already covered the basics and any insecurities, so you can make the best impression possible.
3. Represent Only Yourself
If you want to get into Fordham University, for example, you want to appeal to the interviewer, but you also need to be honest. Knowing exactly who you are will help the interviewer gauge how you’ll fit in on campus. Think about what appeals to you most about the school. You’ll be talking about your interests and even post-graduation goals, so have some talking points ready as well. Also, look comfortable, confident, and poised.
4. Don’t Track the Time
There are lots of superstitions about the length of an interview versus its success. Although most interviews go from 30 minutes to about an hour, that’s not always the case. On-campus interviewers often have many appointments per day. Even if you’re interviewing off-campus, the session is most likely being run by an alumnus on a tight schedule. Don’t check your watch; they might check theirs, but it may or may not be to stay on pace with their day.
5. Always Thank the Interviewer
Note anything you have in common with the interviewer, and mention it in your thank-you note. It could be a common experience, a favorite book, or type of music or band. You could also focus on your interest in the school and, of course, don’t forget to thank the person for their time. If you are uncertain about anything, read up on e-mail etiquette or watch videos of college interviews to get ideas.