Having a successful college interview is often a key part in your admittance process. Many top universities require alumni interviews to ensure that you are a personable candidate. You have approximately thirty minutes to convince your interviewer that you are a good fit for the school.
Schedule Well — You will usually be put in touch with your interviewer via email. Make sure you are prompt and offer the interviewer various times you are free. Let them choose where and when exactly. Make sure your emails are personable and accurately reflect your interest in the school.
Be Prompt — I cannot stress the importance of being on time. Arrive at least five minutes early. It’s likely your interview will be at a cafe or the like, so get yourself some water and find a table. Some interviews occur over Skype, make sure you are prompt in answering your interviewer's calls. Being late will start you off in the negatives.
Dress to Impress — Be presentable, think business casual. It’s not your Sunday best, but jeans and a t-shirt is not the way to go. Your first impression will always be a visual one, so look put together, not sloppy.
Do your Research — Even if this school isn't your top choice, at least pretend like you’re interested. Get a prospective major in mind, maybe the clubs you’d want to join. When you’re asked questions, tie in aspects of the school and make the interviewer believe that this is where you’re supposed to be.
Prepare for Questions — The most commonly asked interview questions are unfortunately vague and open-ended. The interviewer will likely ask you to describe yourself and your interests. Be honest, but stay concise and interesting. Have information prepared regarding your extracurricular activities, course load, and interest in the school. To make things easier, bring two copies of your resume. Both you and the interviewer may refer to it for talking points to keep the conversation going. Don't be afraid of bragging! You are there to show them your skills and achievements.
Prepare your Questions — There will most likely be a portion in which the interviewer will open the conversation to any questions you might have. Avoid awkwardness by having some prepared. Be genuine, but don’t ask obvious questions. Anything easily available on on the university website should be off limits. If all else fails, ask the interviewer about their experience at their alma mater.
How does ‘school’ promote diversity?
What career resources does it offer?
What was your major at the school?
What is the alumni community like?
Don’t freak out! — Many schools have admitted that their interviews play only a minute role in the admissions process, even if they are mandatory. As long as you are polite, on time, and decently prepared, the interview can only help. They tend to play out like casual conversations and are nothing to be stressed about! Many interviewees connect with their interviewers and stay in touch long after they receive an acceptance letter.
The key to having a successful college interview is confidence. Know yourself and know the school and you will nail the process! Good luck!