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Thursday, 07 April 2022

5 top tips to smash your college interview

As part of the admissions process, a lot of colleges schedule interviews with their prospective students. When reviewing your application, admissions staff will take the interview into account - albeit with an equal interest in your grades. 

Although sometimes the interview will not determine if you’re successful or not, it is important to take it seriously. A college interview is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your distinctive personal qualities and establish contact with the admissions team. If you’re looking at applying to a college where an interview is part of the process, here are five top tips to help you smash it!

A college interview is almost like any other kind of interview - formal and well structured. Make sure you’re on time, and even if your interviewer is someone you already know, you must maintain all formalities. 

Prepare ahead of time

Interviewing is a skill that needs practice to master. Whether it’s your first ever interview or you’re a seasoned pro, before you leave, double-check that you have everything you'll need. A notebook and a pen are a good place to start and anything else that you’ve been asked to bring, such as a portfolio for creative courses or certificates from prior achievements.

some past interview questions from your parents, teachers, or friends and practise answering them honestly and thoughtfully. Then question your "interviewer's" impression of you. Make sure you are adequately prepared for your interview way before the date itself - you can never prepare too early.

Research the course and college 

Make sure you thoroughly research the course and college. How well you research will show in the type of queries you ask and the way you answer the interviewer’s questions - don’t try and wing it as it will show. 

In your research, you could also look for past questions asked by various colleges during interviews. The same ones are frequently asked by interviewers. You should be in a good place if you're ready to answer the following interview questions: 

  • Why are you interested in attending our college? (Hint: Use specific examples wherever possible! Your interviewer wants you to be as enthusiastic about their college as they are.) 
  • What do you want to do after you complete your time at college? 
  • When you're not in class, what do you like to do? 
  • What are three things about yourself that I wouldn't know based on your application? 
  • What is an example of a challenge, a failure, or a blunder from which you learned something? 

Ask some questions 

Don’t go for your interview with the mindset of answering questions alone. Your interviewer would expect you to ask questions about the college and the course you intend to study. Make sure your questions are smart as they will give an idea of how much research you’ve done about the course and the college. It’s a good idea to do this before the interview so that you’re not having to think on your feet. 

Make a great first impression 

You're unlikely to have met the team member who will be interviewing you previously; you may have spoken with them at a previous open event, but not in an interview setting. 

Making eye contact with the interviewer, avoiding chewing gum, and making sure your clothing is clean can all make a big difference in your first impression. 

Dress smartly and neatly. Make sure you ask the interviewer thoughtful and important questions regarding the course and the college. Show your enthusiasm for the topic. Make a great first impression, and you will not be easily forgotten. 

A final thank you note

As a final tip, obtain the interviewer's name and contact information and send them a brief thank you note. Many college interviewers are often surprised by how unprepared many students are for their interviews. Make sure you're not one of them. As your interview approaches, be sure to prepare thoroughly and remember these pointers.