While many schools are eliminating a one on one interview between a prospective student and a member of the admissions staff it is a great idea for a student to try to schedule one with a college or university that they are interested in attending.
An interview allows a student to really “shine”. It brings a rare opportunity for a student to put aside GPA, SAT, essays and all other factors and just express why they are a great fit for a particular school or course of study. Personal strengths, or even weaknesses, can be frankly discussed in the opportunity available during an interview.
There are three key behaviors for a successful interview experience however and they are:
• Be prepared
• Be yourself
• Ask questions
In order to be prepared a student should do a thorough examination of each specific school’s policies for admission, as well as an examination of themselves in regards to that school and its policies. Many interviews come with some powerful questions, and it would benefit any student to take them into consideration prior to an interview.
Some of the questions include identifying any difficulties a student has in their desired field of study. For instance, are there classes that have posed problems or challenges to the student? Another common question is about extra-curricular activity, especially around the desired field of study or major area. For example, has a student participated in clubs specific to their academic interest?
Other questions to be prepared for are those around a student’s future. For example an admissions officer may ask a student where they see themselves after graduation, or if they plan on post-graduate work. Some interviews will address a student’s high school career, and may even ask them to be honest about their own performance. It pays for a student to think of these things prior to any interviews.
We all know how it feels to be “put on the spot” and an interview makes most people nervous, but a college interview is a rare chance to express what makes a student special. Some students rehearse interviews to train themselves not to fidget, to speak slowly and clearly, and to think briefly before answering a question. This is a great way to strengthen interview skills and make it a much less mysterious or nerve wracking experience.
Finally, many interviewers form strong and long lasting impressions of students who have questions of their own. For instance, specific questions about the facilities for the student’s proposed major, or questions about college or university expansion, even a question about the mission of the school will all show that a student is interested in choosing the best location for their future education.