In this blog post I continure with tips for students approaching the college interview.
Before the Interview
Schedule your interviews well in advance. This holds true especially if it is a required evaluative interview and/or is during popular times such as school vacations. If for any reason you are unable to keep your appointment inform the admissions office so that another waiting applicant can take your spot.
Do your homework about the college. Explore the school website and literature. Take time to learn about specific programs and activities of interest to you. A great idea is to learn about faculty research or community initiatives in your intended major and ask about this during your interview. This knowledge will enable you to have an interesting and intelligent conversation.
Know basic information about your high school. Admissions committees assess your performance in the context of your particular school. While they will receive a school profile from the Guidance Office or registrar, you will likely be asked about AP, honors, IB programs and the level of competitiveness at your school.
What to wear? Most admissions representatives suggest that you dress for comfort in neat clothing. Choose an outfit that helps you feel good about yourself. Keep in mind you will likely be taking an hour-long walking tour that day so wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Tours go on rain or shine!
During the Interview
The interview will usually be with a member of the admissions staff but it may also be with a student, alumnus or professional interviewer. Most interviewers know that you may be new to interviewing and will try to help you feel at ease. They are eager to get to know you. If you have prepared using the suggestions above, you will be both confident and competent.
Everyone has strong and weak points. Be honest in your answers and not afraid to say you don’t know if that is the case. Try to explain any serious difficulties that have affected your record openly to help put these issues in perspective.
Establishing good eye contact with your interviewer will help you communicate more effectively. Be aware of your body language and try to avoid nervous habits such as tapping your foot or twirling your hair. I will never forget the story of the applicant who nervously swung her shoe back and forth until it flew off hitting the interviewer’s lamp and breaking it. Unbelievably she was actually admitted to that school! On that note put your best foot forward, keep your shoes on and you will have a great interview experience.
One more tip; always follow up with a written thank you note or e-mail.