Preparing for a College Interview

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Many (though not all) colleges and universities interview students as part of their application process. It’s a way for them to learn more about you: the person behind the grades, essays, activity listings, and recommendations you may have already submitted.

Your interview will likely be with someone from the admission office, a current student, or a graduate of the college. It might take place at the school, at a nearby meeting place (like a coffee shop), or online through a system like Skype or FaceTime. In any case, think of it as an opportunity to show that you’re so much more than the paperwork you provided.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself and make the most of your interview:

1. Define what makes you, you.
Before your interview, think about the three key qualities that you want to be sure to touch on. Sure, your application lists awards, and your transcript offers grades. But, what distinct characteristics might get lost on paper? Are you exceptionally adventurous? Remarkably generous? Surprisingly original? Keep these traits in mind, and then weave them into your answers.

2. Practice, practice, practice!
In general, interview questions fall into three main categories: Who are you? Where are you going? Why this college/university? If you’re prepared to answer questions like these, you’ll feel confident and have a positive interview experience. That’s why we recommend you take some time before your interview to practice your answers — but don’t memorize anything; you don’t want to sound like a robot! Learn about what questions to expect at your college interview.

3. Ask away!
Your interview is just as much an opportunity for you to learn more about the school as it is for the school to learn more about you, so be prepared with a few questions of your own. Don’t ask questions that could easily be found on the school’s website, though. Instead, frame your questions around issues that are important to you. For example, if you’re seeking an active, engaged community, ask about participation rates in community service or recreational sports. And consider a question that requires an in-depth response, like “What type of student wouldn’t fit in at this school?” or “What aspect of campus are students working to improve?”

4. Be your best you.
At your interview, be confident, relaxed, and respectful. Dress neatly. Be on time. And, above all, be yourself!


Additional Resources
Take advantage of all that we have to offer! With MyCoalition, you can store important high school documents and files in your digital Locker, ask for input from trusted family and friends, and even apply to schools.

Learn about what questions to expect during your college interview.

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