The Best Ways To Prepare for College Interviews


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Dear College Made Simple Reader,

The college interview is typically not a make-or-break factor in the admissions process.

It is, however, a great opportunity for your child to put their best foot forward… in ways that might not show up in the application and transcript.

Of course, each school conducts their student interviews differently (many schools are now offering interviews via Skype), but one thing hasn’t changed:

Preparation is key.

To that end, we’ve put together some of the more common themes your student can expect in the interview process.

– Scott

The Best Ways To Prepare for College Interviews

For starters, know the school, and know it well.

In other words, gather all the information you can from the admissions department on what to expect from a typical interview.

The one question they can expect: “Why are you interested in enrolling at our school?”

That’s why it’s so important to have the college mapped out ahead of time, and to be prepared to speak to specifics.

Now for some basics: Be sure to present well, show up early, dress appropriately, and be sure the cell phone is turned off the entire time.

Most of all, keep focused. That means making eye contact, and answering questions directly and respectfully.

An interviewer may want to know about your child’s future plans or aspirations, and if their college is the right fit for those.

The point is: be honest. Interviewers understand not all candidates have the direction of their next 10 years figured out.

Another great interview tactic is to “turn the interview around.”

When the interviewer asks your student if they have questions for them, it’s always a great idea to have a list of thoughtful, meaningful questions specific to the school.

Now let’s get into some more college interview questions to be expected.

These are the ones that demand preparation, including a few practice rounds with parents. (This will go a long way in helping maintain composure and demeanor during the interview).

  • If you could do one thing differently in high school, what would that thing be? Is there a second thing you would do differently?
  • Can you explain, in detail, a specific challenge that you’ve overcome.
  • Is there something you’ve read within the past year or two that has special meaning or significance to you?
  • Who has been the most important person in your own self-development?
  • What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? 20 years from now?

Another Way To Prepare Well In Advance of the College Interview

This cannot be stressed enough: extracurriculars matter. Involvement in sports, clubs, groups, and other school activities are definitely factored into the college admissions process.

One reason for that is because college interviewers are usually trying to get a feel for who a student is, above and beyond a GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

Extracurricular activities are one of the best windows, and you can expect an interview to include a good amount of time on the topic. Remember, which extracurriculars you address isn’t what’s important. What does matter is addressing them with passion and sincerity.

Finally, interviewers want to get a sense of your child’s study habits. That is, they’ll want to know if your student will be able to responsibly manage their studies, once away at school.

By following these tips, your child stands to make a very good impression at every interview.

To your successful college pursuits,

Scott Weingold
Co-founder, College Planning Network, LLC

Publisher, College Made Simple – The Free Educational Resource of College Planning Network, LLC

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