How important are college interviews

9 Essential Tips For Your College Interview

If you are applying to a selected university, you may be asked to take an admissions interview. While this can be a daunting task, especially for the introverts out there, it really is an exciting opportunity to stand out from a crowded pool of applicants.

On a grand scale, interviews don't make that big a difference. In terms of the impact on your chances of getting admitted to your Choice College, interviews usually don't carry nearly as much weight as your GPA or curriculum decisions, for example. However, you don't want to go into an interview unprepared because you need to make a good impression.

We have compiled a list below that contains all the important information you need to know before you sit down for your interview. This is a convenient and impressive way to impress.

1. If you have the opportunity to be interviewed, say yes

Few colleges and universities require all applicants to take part in interviews. Even Harvard and Yale, for example, recommend interviews rather than "requesting" them. In other institutions such as Northwestern and Stanford, interviews are considered "optional".

However, if you have the opportunity to be interviewed and can do so, you should always say yes. Interviews are your opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer and increase your chances of admission.

Although interviewers don't make independent decisions about whether or not you are approved, they do provide information about your personality, interests, passions, and goals back to the admissions officers. The more good things you have to say, the higher your chances of getting in!

Your interviewer will also rate you in terms of your interest in the school to which you are applying. It is worth noting that you do not want to be among the group of students who have decided not to be interviewed as this can be perceived as a lack of interest in a school.

However, if you really are unable to arrange an interview, most admissions agencies won't turn this against you. For example, Harvard's Admissions Website says, "If an interview cannot be arranged, you are not placed at a disadvantage during the application process."

2. Determine how you will set up an interview

Schools differ in their standards for setting up interviews. So it is very important to check the individual guidelines of each school you are applying to.

For example, some institutions like Harvard and MIT contact applicants after applications have been submitted to determine a time and place for the interview. Of course, given the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools are currently planning to conduct online interviews.

But other institutions like Washington and Lee University, ask applicants to conduct interviews themselves. It's usually as simple as following a few directions on an admissions website. The only thing to be careful about is to make sure you schedule an interview before the deadline. Schools have different deadlines that can coincide with the time of year you are applying.

In most cases, you can find all the information you need with a quick Google search. However, if you are having trouble finding updated information on setting up an interview, you can always contact an admissions office by phone or email.

3. Know who your interviewer is

Most of the time, your interviewer is an alumni of the school you are applying to. Alumni networks typically span across the country, and those who volunteer to conduct interviews often meet applicants in public spaces near where they live, e.g. B. in cafes, restaurants or libraries. However, this year most of the interviews will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, alumni who give up their free time to interview applicants tend to be very enthusiastic about their alma mater and want to make sure that all admitted people are a good match for them and are just as passionate about school as they are. So when interviewing an alumni, make sure you come to the interview full of excitement, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

However, in some cases you will be asked to interview an admissions officer. This does not change the weight your interview has in relation to your probability of occurrence. And it shouldn't have a material impact on the way you approach your interview.

4. Research, research, research

You should never go into an interview unprepared. In the weeks leading up to your interview, take some time to research the institution you're interviewing for.

Do a thorough exam as if you were being tested for it. By the time you go into the interview, you should know the majors the school offers, the most famous alumni, the locations on campus, and even the mascot! You get the picture.

The point is, you want to be able to provide detailed and honest answers to every question asked and prove to your interviewer that you are passionate about the institution.

Go beyond to impress. Make the interviewer believe that this school is the only one that you are interested in. By demonstrating your extensive knowledge of the school, you are making it clear that it would be a huge disappointment to visit anywhere else.

5. Anticipate questions but fail to memorize prepared answers

Before your interview, do some research on the types of questions you may be asked. Some schools, like Yale, have a number of sample questions online that students can check out before their interview.

For example, those applying to Yale may be asked these general questions.

  • What made you interested in something for years?
  • Tell me about an influential person in your life (teacher, trainer, etc.).
  • What are you doing for fun
  • What do you hope for from your experience as a student?

If you've already majored or shown a strong interest in theater, writing, travel, or music, you may be asked a few questions specific to your field or interest. However, your answers to these questions should go without saying.

Yale suggests that interviewers could ask “theater fans” such as the following questions.

  • What are some of your favorite roles? How is it for you when you're on stage?
  • Is there a character that you would really like to play? Is there a show that you would really like to put on?
  • What can theater offer that other forms of performance cannot? What are your options?

And "the writer" could be asked these questions.

  • What do you like to write Fiction, non-fiction, poetry?
  • Do you have favorite subjects that you enjoy writing about? Why?
  • Where do you collect your topics? What inspires you to write?
  • Did you have the opportunity to share your writing with an audience?

Overall, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few possible questions. It is important to check that the school you are applying to has sample questions online, as they do with Yale. However, you should never conduct an interview with a saved list of answers, otherwise you will not be perceived as authentic.

Think of your interview as a conversation. The interviewer will often ask follow-up questions based on your last answer. You want to be able to think locally and answer questions naturally. However, this is only possible if you have done your research before starting the interview.

6. Practice, practice, practice

The best way to feel prepared for an interview is to practice extensively beforehand. While answering questions in the mirror is better than nothing, it's best to ask your parent, sibling, or friend to sit down with you and do a bogus interview.

If the college you're interviewing for has a list of questions online, like Yale, print out those questions and have your practice partner ask questions from this sheet. By going through mock interviews, you will become familiar and familiar with the interview process.

You can identify and fix technical problems such as “um” or “like” too often. And you will get a sense of how well prepared you really are. This will help you determine if you need to go back and do more research.

7. Make sure you have questions at the end

At the end of your interview, your interviewer will likely ask you if you have any questions. This is not the time to shrug and mumble, "No, I think I got it."

Use this as an opportunity to have a stimulating conversation with your interviewer that shows your real interest in the school.

Prove that you did your research by asking questions that you really want to know the answers to. For example, if you're interested in your post-college life, ask about the strength of the school's alumni network. For example, if you're passionate about rugby, ask about the strength of the club team and whether there are people on campus who share your passion for the sport.

Even if the interviewer doesn't have an answer to your question, this gives the interviewer more insight into yourself, apart from your test results. And they can likely point you in the direction of someone who knows the answers.

That said, you don't want meaningless, googleable questions like "What is the total number of signups?" Put. or "would I be able to study math?"

Your interviewer is spending their precious time with you and you don't want to waste them on simple questions because you are too lazy to research them yourself. It also signals that you haven't done your research.

8. Be early

Be there and ready for your interview at least 15 minutes before the actual start time. If you are driving 20 minutes away, give yourself at least 35 minutes. If your interview is on Skype or Zoom, be sure to sit down at your computer 15 minutes early.

Not only does this give you extra time in case you run into traffic or have technical problems with your computer, it also gives you a moment to take a deep breath, calm down, and gather your thoughts before the interview.

9. Check the dress code

A Google search shows you that most colleges and universities, including MIT applicants, don't have to dress up for the interview. But that doesn't mean you should wear shorts and a hoodie.

Be presentable. If the school you are applying for doesn't specify how to dress, wear what you consider "business casual". Don't wear a suit and you can likely lose your tie. Looks great but is comfortable.

Whenever you go anywhere to meet an interviewer, try to match your clothes with the location. For example, if you come to a coffee shop in a full suit, an interviewer may feel uncomfortable, but so may your workout clothes.


Sitting down one-on-one with someone you don't know and who is affecting your chances of getting into your dream school can no doubt be scary. But the more prepared and confident you are, the more your fears will go away. If you follow the tips in this article and prepare in depth, you can develop confidence. Of course, you'll be excited and ready to impress.