How to Ace the Admission Interview

For most admissions counselors, interacting with students who are interested in their college is a high point in their day. Being able to meet students who are considering the school that they represent is rewarding and provides the counselor with a chance to help guide students in their college application process. Here are some of the top suggestions that might help you succeed in your next interview.

Be Aware – There are several kinds of interviews and while each one has similarities, it is important to know which kind of interview you will have in advance.

  • Required Interview – some colleges and scholarship programs require interviews for all students or for students who have made the decision to apply to a particular college that does not require the submission of SAT or ACT scores.
  • Evaluative Interview – the interviewer’s comments and thoughts about the interview will play some role in the admissions process.
  • Non-evaluative / Informational Interview – the interview serves an opportunity to get to know the student and to answer questions for the student and the family.
  • Alumni Interview – an interview conducted off-campus by an alum of the college and is usually non-evaluative.

Be Prepared – Know the basics about the school and know why you are visiting. (And no, “My mom dragged me here” is not an acceptable response). Have three thoughtful questions ready to ask the interviewer–questions that aren’t already answered in the school’s admission materials. Perhaps you might ask something specific about the department or major you hope to study or about the internships available in the department.

Be the leader – When you walk into the admissions office, take charge. Don’t let your parents check in with the front desk. This is your chance to introduce yourself as the leader in the college process. Don’t slunk around in the corner on your smartphone tweeting about your annoyance.

Be Relaxed – The interview is an opportunity for you to get to know the college and for them to get to know you. Take a deep breath and be yourself during the interview and it will go well.

Be Professional – Admission officers understand that you are touring a college campus and that you are a high school student, so they are not expecting you to show up in a business suit. However, good impressions are important. Make sure you are neat and tidy so that the interviewer knows you are taking the interview seriously.

Be Careful – The “interview” starts the minute you walk in the door. The front desk reception area staff see everything, so be on your best behavior. No matter how many hours you have been with your parents and no matter how tired you are after the long car ride or flight, this is the time to shine.

Finally, The College Board has a list of possible questions that a student might be asked during a college interview. These questions can serve as a good starting point as you prepare for the interview.

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