Top 7 Tips for US College Admission Interviews
The admission process for US colleges is complex, but probably the aspect that scares most applicants is the actual interview with their desired university.
It is natural to feel nervous about the day of the interview, and making the most of this chance to show the university representatives how passionate you are about studying there. The best way to overcome those nerves and put your best foot forward during the interview, is to make sure you’re well prepared and have an idea of what is going to happen. To get ready for the big day, check out our top seven admission interview tips to help you bring your A-game.
1. Try to anticipate the questions
It is very likely that you will be nervous on the day of the admission interview and maybe you won’t be able to give the greatest answers to your interviewer’s questions. That is why you should try to anticipate those questions and think about the answers you could give in order to highlight your passion and qualities. It is a good idea to conduct a few mock interviews with family or friends before the real one. This will help you feel more prepared and confident.
Revisit the university prospectus and course details and think about what the recruiters are likely to be looking for. They could ask why you want to attend that university, what your career plans are, how would you describe yourself, what is your biggest accomplishment, and so on. Write down some answers to these common admission interview questions, and you will be less likely to draw a ‘mental blank’ on the day.
2. Choose your outfit carefully
You already know that you have to choose an appropriate outfit, but we all know how hard it this can be! One of our admission interview tips is to be sure to check if the university offers any dress code recommendations. If that is the case, follow them precisely.
However, if they don’t offer any recommendations, you should dress in something which is reasonably smart, which you feel comfortable in, and which won’t distract the interviewer from the points you are trying to make. It can be as simple as a smart pair of trousers and a plain shirt. Rather than dressing to attract attention, focusing on making sure your outfit is appropriate and comfortable.
3. Be confident and passionate
In order to impress admissions officers, you need to be confident and show your passion for you field of study. Confidence sends the message that you know what you want and are willing to work hard in order to make your plans become reality. Also, make sure you communicate your passion for the subject, and explain how you discovered that this is what you wanted to pursue.
It’s also a good idea to confidently discuss your career or academic plans, and be as specific as you can. This will show that you have thought seriously about the future, and that you are really interested in evolving as a professional in your chosen area. The idea is to show you have plans, and that they are a good fit for the university.
4. Do your research
It goes without saying that you need to be well-prepared for the admission interview if you really want to study at a US college. Make sure you know as much as possible about the university and your chosen course of study. You can do that by simply reading and making notes based on the university website, as well as any information sent to you before the interview. This will also mean you know what to expect when you arrive on interview day.
Also, remember that admission officers may ask you questions based on the application form and essay you submitted – so be prepared to go into more depth on anything you’ve mentioned there. They may also bring up current issues relating to the domain you want to study; not being aware of these could make it seem as though you are not really interested. So, make sure you are up to speed with the latest news and trends in your subject.
5. Show clarity of thought
You will leave a good impression if you approach the admission interview like a conversation where you are trying to show your conversational partner who you are and what you value in life. In order to do that, you need to give your opinions and argue your points logically. The best way of doing that is by always trying to provide examples to support your ideas.
While it’s possible to anticipate some of the questions you will face, but there will always be some conversational points you didn’t think of, and you may or may not be ready for them. If this is the case, don’t hurry to give an answer. It’s not your speed that will impress the interviewer, but the way you consider, build and support your answer.
6. Listen carefully
When you’re feeling nervous during your US college admission interview, try to stay focused on your interviewer’s words and body language. This will help get your mind off the feeling of being nervous, and will help you better understand what the admission officer wants to know.
You could even make notes during the interview, both for your own reference and as preparation for future interviews. What’s important is to pay attention to every question and the reaction of the admission officer; try to understand why are you being asked each question, and what the interviewer wants to know about you. This will keep you mindful and give you the chance to formulate more accurate answers.
7. Prepare some questions to ask the tutors
It is common for the interviewer to conclude by asking whether you have any questions for them. Because you are probably under a lot of stress, you may not be able to think of anything at this moment, even though you probably do have lots of questions.
Try to prepare two or three questions in advance to ask the interviewer, and make the most of this opportunity to find out more about the university and your education. This will not only be beneficial for you, but it will also prove that you are interested in the opportunity and ensuring it’s the right match for you.
However, make sure your questions are not redundant, and that they cannot be answered by simply surfing the university’s website or reading the brochure. Think of something more in-depth, which will show you’ve researched the program and help you learn more.
This article was originally published in January 2016 . It was last updated in June 2022