During The Interview

During the College Interview 

The most prestigious colleges will require an admissions interview, as will the most valuable college scholarships.  Here are some tips for the college interview.  In many cases, a panel of professors will interview the student to decide upon scholarship awards of significant value.

Shake hands with the interviewers and introduce yourself.  Be prepared to ask and answer questions.

The interview should be a conversation, not an oral test.  Think about your body language – if you look relaxed you will likely feel more relaxed, too.  If there is an occasional moment of silence as you think about an answer or formulate your next question, don’t worry.


Some “Dos and Don’ts” During the Interview


  • Be honest
  • Listen
  • Take time to reflect before answering and asking questions
  • Be energetic
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Give detailed answers to questions
  • Make eye contact
  • Use your interviewer’s name
  • Arrive early
  • Speak clearly
  • Bring transcripts, test scores, and a resume
  • Bring a portfolio of your work if appropritate

Ask for the interviewer’s business card, or have him or her write down his name.


  • Lie or exaggerate
  • Be negative
  • Yawn
  • Slouch
  • Stretch
  • Chew gum
  • Brag
  • Recite a prepared speech
  • Interrupt your interviewer
  • Be disinterested or nonchalant
  • Criticize teachers, school, or friends
  • Give one-word answers.

After the Interview

Send a thank-you note to the interviewer.  It can be brief but it should mention something you discussed to remind the interviewer of your talk.

Compare notes with your parents.  How do you feel about the college or the scholarship now?  Are you more interested or less interested in the college now?

If you’ll be attending a series of college interviews or college scholarship interviews, reflect on how the interview went.  What could you have done better?  What were your strong and weak points of the interviews?  Learn from the interview in order to be more successful the next time.

In the book Money-Winning Scholarship Essays and Interviews Gen S. Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe have gathered the essentials to help you succeed at college interviews and scholarship interviews.  In addition, you will find 30 actual winning scholarship essays.  They offer many techniques to help students win scholarships to help make college affordable.  Also included are interviews with scholarship judges, so you will have an insider’s look into how scholarship decisions are made.

With some understanding about the psychology, body language, and communication techniques, students can perform well at college interviews and scholarship interviews.