The College Interview
The emphasis on college interviews has decreased during the past few years, so you will need to inquire about the interviewing policy of each school. The policy will probably be one of the following:
1) No interviews – group information sessions only.
2) Interviews are optional and informational only.
3) Interviews are encouraged and do become a part of the student’s application folder.
4) Off-campus interview with an alumnus.
If the college does offer an on-campus interview and you are able to visit, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity. It may be very helpful to you. Don’t be surprised if the interviewer spends much of the time selling you on his or her school. Interviews are, in part, a marketing device.
Remember that the interview is really a dialogue. It is an exchange of information. Yes, the interviewer wants to know about you and may use some of what you share later in the admission process, but you should also use the interview to determine your interest in the college. Don’t go into the interview expecting to be on the hot seat the whole time. You should have some questions prepared that you want to ask as well. The best interviewing advice is to simply be relaxed, be yourself, and have fun. Every interviewer we know walks into an interview hoping to really like the student and to have a good conversation. Take a look at some possible college interview questions.
Why Go to a College Interview?
While the interview is not usually a primary factor in an admission decision, it does have real value. It gives you a chance to ask questions and to talk about issues that are important to you. It gives the college the chance to know the person behind the paper – and that can help. Every Admission Counsellor can recall a borderline candidate whose interview tipped the balance in their favour. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be sure to make a positive impression. Also consider what not to do in the college interview.
Featured Video: College Interview Skills
Making Your College Interview Appointment
Call – don’t write for an appointment, and do make the appointment yourself – don’t have your parents call for you. Be ready to give your name and school information. Look at the map before making your appointment so you know how much time you need to get there. If you are visiting more than one college in a day, make sure you allot enough time for travel between the two schools – and don’t forget to allow time to eat breakfast and lunch. If you are hungry or rushed, you will not be able to have a relaxing interview.
Types of College Interviews
Personal Interviews are either informational or evaluative. You should find out when making your appointment which type of interview you will be having. If you are having an informational interview, the interview does not generally carry any weight in the admission decision and you can expect to be more relaxed. Informational interviews can be good practice for evaluative interviews. Evaluative interviews are used in the decision-making process. While you may not be interviewed by an actual staff member on the admissions committee, (see list of interviewers below), your interviewer will be making notes, which will be used at application time.
Who Will Be Conducting the College Interview with Me?
Your interviewer may be any of the following: 1) a college admission official who will be reviewing your application later 2) a college interviewer hired to help with the busy interview season 3) a college student/intern who has been trained to interview 4) another college administrator or professor who may be helping out 5) an alumnus (particularly if you are having on off-campus interview) Generally, the receptionist will not be able to tell you which person will be interviewing you before you arrive. Unless you have a valid reason to need to discuss your record with and admission staff member, you should let the chips fall where they may. If you do have a reason to request an interview with an admission official (significant illness/learning or physical disability/ very complicated academic record) you should make your request when you call for your appointment, not when you arrive for your interview.
Recommended Reading: College Interview: 5 Tips To Crush It (FastPop Books)