If you want to make a great impression on college admissions officers, you need to be prepared to answer some tough questions. The best way to stand out from the crowd is to respond thoughtfully and intelligently to even the most challenging queries.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 11 questions that will make you stand out in a college interview. While you may not be able to predict every question you’ll be asked, preparing for these in advance will give you the confidence you need to ace your interview.
What Happens at a College Interview?
A college interview is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are beyond your grades and test scores. This is an opportunity for you to share your story, highlight your strengths, and demonstrate why you would be a great fit for their school.
The format of a college interview varies depending on the school. Some interviews are conducted by alumni or current students, while admissions officers conduct others. Some interviews are informal, while others are more formal.
Is It Necessary to Attend a College Interview?
Attending a college interview is not required, but it is recommended. Below are the reasons why you should attend a college interview.
Looks Good to Your School
If you’re interested in a school, attending the college interview shows you’re serious about attending. This is especially important if you’re applying to a competitive school. Impressive stats on their own, but when considered with your grades and test scores, they can help give you an edge over other candidates.
Allows You to Build on Your Application
Your application is your opportunity to share your academic accomplishments, work experience, and extracurricular involvement. A college interview allows you to elaborate on the information in your application and explain how you would contribute to the school.
You Can Ask Questions About the School
During a college interview, you’ll have the chance to ask the interviewer questions about the school. This is your opportunity to learn more about the school and find out if it’s the right fit for you.
What Are the Most Common College Interview Questions?
While the specific interview questions for students applying to college asked vary depending on the school, there are some common themes. Below are eleven of the most common college interview questions.
Tell Me About Yourself?
This is often the opener to college interviews. While it may seem like a simple question, it’s pretty tricky to answer. Admissions officers are looking to get to know you as a person, not just a student. To stand out, avoid giving a chronological rundown of your life or listing off your accomplishments. Instead, focus on sharing a few key details that will give the interviewer a sense of who you are.
What Are Three Adjectives That Describe You?
This is another question that allows the admissions officer to get to know you as a person, when choosing your adjectives, select ones that will give the interviewer a positive impression of you.
Why Do You Want to Attend This College?
Admissions officers want to know why you’re interested in their school. To answer this question effectively, do your research on the school beforehand. Find out what sets the school apart from other colleges and use that information to explain why it’s the right fit for you.
What Are Your Biggest Strengths?
When answering this question, share qualities that will make you an asset to the school. For example, if you’re applying to a business program, you might want to highlight your leadership skills or ability to work well under pressure.
What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses?
When discussing your weaknesses, be honest but avoid sharing anything that would negatively impact your application. For example, if you’re not the best test taker, you might want to discuss how you’ve compensated for that by working hard in your classes.
What is Your Prospective Major and Why?
Admissions officers want to know that you’re committed to your chosen field of study. To answer this question effectively, share your motivation for pursuing the major and how it aligns with your long-term goals.
Who is Your Role Model?
Your role model can be anyone, from a family member to a historical figure. When choosing your role model, select someone who has positively influenced you.
What Do You Like to Do Outside of School?
This question allows the admissions officer to get a sense of your interests and hobbies. Be sure to share activities you’re passionate about and have been involved in for a significant time.
Why Should We Accept You Into Our College?
This is your opportunity to share anything that makes you different from other candidates. Be sure to highlight qualities that would contribute to the school’s diversity.
What’s One Project or Experience You Particularly Enjoyed in High School?
This question allows the admissions officer to get a sense of your interests and passions. Be sure to share a project or experience that you found both challenging and enjoyable.
Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the school and have done your research. Be sure to ask questions that cannot be easily found on the school’s website.
9 Questions You Should Ask at the End of a College Interview
When you’re done with your college interview, don’t just sit there. Ask the interviewer some questions of your own. This demonstrates that you’re interested in the school and have done your research. Below are nine questions to get you started.
What did you study here and why did you enjoy it?
Using this question in an alumni interview will allow you to establish common ground in academics. Keep your knowledge of the subject matter in mind, and be prepared to answer questions based on what you’ve previously studied.
What sets this school apart from others?
In other words, what makes your school unique? Your interviewer’s response to this question might tell you a great deal about what they believe makes this college unique, which is something you should inquire further about and something you should include in your college essays.
What have students from this program accomplished after graduation?
There are two main components to this question. First, it demonstrates that you have done your homework on the institution and are particularly interested in one of its academic programs. If you can find a solution to your question on the college’s website, don’t ask it.
As a manner of talking about software you’re interested in, this question is an excellent one. Additionally, this question reveals to admissions personnel that you’ve envisioned yourself as a student at this institution.
This question also shows that you have an eye on the future and are driven enough to choose a job path after graduation. Asking open-ended and goal-oriented questions will reflect your openness to learning and drive to succeed.
What advice would you give me as an incoming freshman?
When you ask this question, your interviewer will be able to talk about their own experiences. To better understand campus life, they may tell you a few tales from their own experiences or those of other students.
A personal connection with your interviewer may also be established through this method and an expression of your want to learn.
How easy is it for first year students to take upper level classes?
This question suggests that you are eager to learn, not afraid of a challenge, and have thought about the logistics of attending this institution. Even better, include a few advanced courses or instructors in specific disciplines to demonstrate that you have conducted research.
How Would You Describe the College’s Academic Culture?
Because your college application will be evaluated mainly based on your academic performance, it is always beneficial to discuss academics whenever feasible. Therefore, learning more about the classroom environment at this college might help you focus on your academic talents in high school.
What opportunities are available for participating in research?
Asking about research in your admissions interview is a terrific way to show colleges that you’re already thinking about what types of projects you’d like to pursue at the university. Prepare yourself to discuss the potential scope of a project.
What kinds of educational support systems are available for students?
It is okay to ask about topics like first year orientations or how students are supported in their research, finding internships, choosing a major, and selecting their courses. Still, you don’t want to suggest that you need academic aid.
What are some of the best activities on campus?
Engaging with the student body is a critical component of living at a college or university, alongside your academics. Schools are seeking well-rounded achievers, so demonstrate your personality during the interview.
How to Prepare for College Interview?
Going to a college interview can be nerve-wracking, but with the proper preparation, you can make a great impression. Here are five tips to help you get ready for your big day.
Do Your Research
Before your interview, take some time to learn about the school. Find out what programs and majors it offers and what its campus life is like. This will give you something to talk about during the interview.
Dress Business Casual
When it comes to what to wear to a college interview, err on the side of conservatism. Stick with classic, professional clothing in neutral colors.
Conduct Mock Interviews with Family and Friends
Practice with family and friends to help you feel more comfortable with the interview process. You can even role-play different types of questions to prepare yourself better.
Prepare for Common College Interview Questions
Some questions are bound to come up in any college interview. Be prepared to answer them with confidence by brainstorming your responses ahead of time.
The college interview is not the time to try to be someone you’re not. Be honest about your accomplishments and goals. The admissions officer will appreciate your honesty.
Stop Worrying About the Clock
The college interview is not a race. Take your time in answering the questions, and don’t worry if the interviewer goes over the allotted time. They’re just trying to get to know you better.
Relax and Be Yourself
The most important thing to remember is to relax and be yourself. The admissions officer wants to get to know the real you, so be yourself, and you’ll do great.
Send a Thank You Email
After the interview, send a thank you email to the admissions officer. This is just another way to show your interest in the school.
Wrapping Things Up: These 11 Questions That Will Make You Stand Out in a College Interview
The college interview is your opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for admission. Make sure you come prepared with questions of your own and be honest and authentic in your responses. Remember to relax and be yourself – the admissions officer wants to get to know the real you. Thank you emails are always appreciated after a college interview. With these tips, you’ll be sure to make a great impression.