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5 More College Interview Tips to Give You the Competitive Edge

Back in August we published a major post: The College Interview Advice You Need NOW to Nail It on the Day. In that post we gave quite a lot of detail about how to prepare well for your interviews. It’s a great place to start so, if you haven’t read it yet, go and check it out.

There’s always more to say, however, so let’s pick up the discussion with five additional college interview tips:

1. DO interview if you get the chance

There are colleges who do not always offer the opportunity of an interview, and there are others who will present interviews as just optional. Whenever you get the chance, however, you should take it, and here’s why (in a nutshell): the interview is the most human part of the admissions process.

Without an interview, admissions officers can only compare prospective students “on paper”. They look at results, achievements and references, but the data does not tell the whole story about you. On paper, you may look like hundreds of other applicants. The interview makes you more than just a file or number; it’s your opportunity to stand out, be known and remembered.

2. Show up to your interview ready to have a conversation

The alternative is that you approach it like an examination. If you bring that mindset, you’re likely to subconsciously assume that your interviewer is hostile; that they’re trying to catch you out. You’ll be overly concerned with giving the right answer — the one you think they want to hear.

Instead, think of the interview as a conversation which gives you the opportunity to tell your story and also to find out more about the institution.  Prepare some questions to ask your interviewer so that it’s truly a two-way discussion.

3. If this school is not your first choice, interview like it is anyway

Don’t misunderstand. We’re not talking about lying to your interviewer to flatter or impress them. This tip is about the attitude you maintain as you prepare, and the enthusiasm you show for each and every interview you have. You may have a very clear preference in mind about which school you hope to attend, but set that aside for the time being and give your best effort to every college application. There are a couple of good reasons to do so:

  • You may not be accepted to your first-choice school. You want to have as many good options as possible.
  • Your thinking may just change along the way. In fact, this happens to students all the time. As you get to know more about your preferred school, you may decide it’s not for you after all. Another school that you visit may become far more appealing.

4. Practice makes prepared

It’s one thing to come up with great written answers to questions that you might be asked, but it’s quite another thing to actually say those answers out loud to someone. Mock interviews are a great way to hone your interview skills ahead of the big day. Have a friend or family member sit down with you and ask you a list of likely questions, so that you can practice answering them. It will feel awkward at first, but keep at it and you’ll become more comfortable.

5. Debrief after each interview so you can improve

Most students applying to colleges end up having a number of interviews. So, whether the last interview went really well or not so well, sit down and make notes about what happened, and talk it over with a friend. What questions were you asked? Which ones did you answer well, and which ones do you wish you’d answered differently. Work on it, and you’ll be far better prepared for your next interview.

So, there they are. Five more college interview tips to give you the competitive edge.

And don’t forget, if you haven’t read our previous post The College Interview Advice You Need NOW to Nail It on the Day, it’s the very best place for you to start. If you still have any questions, do get in contact with us.


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