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How To Ace A College Interview

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Which Colleges Require Interviews

How to Ace your College Interview

Check out the complete list of colleges that require interviews to learn about all of the schools that recommend or require interviews. All of the Ivy League schools outside of Cornell either recommend or require interviews.

Other colleges that recommend or require interviews include Duke, Emory, Bowdoin, University of Chicago, MIT, and Georgetown. Some colleges that offer optional interviews include Stanford, Tufts, Vanderbilt, and Vassar.

Duke recommends interviews, and it has updated the look of its mascot.

Handshakes And Body Language

The handshake is really important. Its your first point of contact. I suggest that a nice firm handshake is always appropriate. You want to look your interviewer in the eye as you shake his hand.

Im asked about eye contact a lot. I think kids worry about that too much. Think about it. When were asked a question, its normal to look away to think for a moment. In fact, the field of neurology has taught us that we tend to look up and to the left when were gathering a memory, particularly an honest one! Then, once weve gathered the thought, we return to the eyes of the interviewer to deliver the answer. We all do that quite naturally. But what I sometimes see is that some kids look away when an adult is speaking. I dont know if its that theyre bored or intimidated, but its important to retain eye contact when the interviewer is speaking.

Try not to fidget.

Students shouldnt twirl their hair or crack their knuckles or twist the paperclip they find in their pocket.

But gesturing is greatits perfectly fine to use your hands as you talk.

Generally, we say dont worry too much about your body language. Concentrate on your content and the rest will follow naturally.

But if you’re super interested in body language, Amy Cuddys TED Talk on body language offers some simple tips.

Ways To Ace Or Blow Your College Interview

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I recently participated in a Mock Interview Session at Millbrook School, and for months I have been interviewing applicants to Drew University. Practice is a good idea, because a lot can ride on a college interview. If one is offeredsome colleges have abandoned the practicefind out if it will be Evaluative or Informational. In the first type, what you say can and will be used for or against you in the court of admissions. In the second, you will receive a personal Q& A infomercial on all the college has to offer. What follows concerns primarily the evaluative type.

Mock interviews can be helpful, but they are mock, and the adrenaline may not flow. Another tactic is to interview first at a place that may not make your final list in other words, a low-stakes setting. Once an interview counts, here are thoughts on how to make or break it:

  • Based on the assumption that were talking about a residential college, be able to explain what you will do outside the classroom. College is not all about academic learning you are moving in. What do you plan to bring to your new neighborhood? Your value to the 24/7 residential community needs explanation. Interviewers may know the what of your resume, but they need to know and feel the why. Explain who you are, what matters to you when its not for credit, and what you hope to contribute once you arrive.
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    Question : Why Are You Interested In This College

    Why they’re asking this: This is an important question and one you should definitely prepare for, since colleges want to see that you’re taking the application process seriously and have a legitimate interest in attending the school.

    What they’re looking for: Talk about your interest in a major or academic program, the cultural values of the school, or extracurricular activities that drew you to the college. Again, be thorough and specific. Don’t talk about prestige or rankings, and don’t say you just want to go there because it’s close to home none of this shows genuine interest in this specific college!

    How to prepare: To answer this question well, you’ll need to conduct extensive college research before the interview. You should be able to cite specifics when answering this question. Follow the same advice as if you were writing the answer to this question for your application essay.

    Exercise #: Segueing To Your Message Box

    How to ace your college interview

    This exercise will help you practice segueing to your message box gems to ensure that youre putting the best parts of yourself forward.

  • Step One: Copy and paste The Ultimate List Of College Interview Questions at the bottom of this post into an email and send it to yourself so you can reference it on your phone.

  • Step Two: Find someone youre comfortable with and sit with that person in a quiet space where you wont be interrupted.

  • Step Three: Have your partner ask you a random question from the list and try to answer the question while segueing to an item in your message box.

  • Example: Lets say one of the things in your message box is the fact that you started a robotics team at your school and, even though it started out with just two members, now its grown to 12 and you even placed 2nd in a recent competition. And say youre asked a question like, Whats your favorite subject?

    This ones easy: I love because of then segue into Thats part of what inspired me to start the robotics team at school.

    Example: I love my math and computer programming classes! I love riddles and problem solving and nothing is more exciting to me than being given a challenging problem to solve, especially when I cant figure out why a computer program Ive written isnt running. I really loved being Lead Programmer on my Robotics team in middle school so I started my schools programming class when I realized my high school didnt have a Robotics Club.

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    Additional College Interview Tips

    You should feel prepared to answer common college interview questions and engage in conversations about qualities and activities that are specific to the school. Before the interview, research academic offerings and any unique information about the college that interests you.

    For most college interviews, business casual is ideal, as it allows you to look professional but not overly formal. This is typically defined as no shorts, jeans, or clothing that’s revealing think button-downs, blouses, and unwrinkled pants.

    Interviewing is a skill, and practicing can go a long way when it’s time for the real deal. Not only will it help you identify areas to work on, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to go over some of the main points you prepared for the broader, more open-ended college interview questions. For virtual interviews, you may also use your mock interviews to find the ideal lighting and webcam position.

    A follow-up email displays a level of professionalism and expresses continued interest in the school post-interview. In addition, because interviewers meet with many candidates, following up can help ensure they remember you.

    Even for evaluative interviews, it’s unlikely the interview will be the determining factor for whether you get rejected or admitted. Therefore, it’s best to view the interview as an opportunity to learn more about the school and assess your fit. Above all, you should be enthusiastic and engaged in your conversation with the interviewer.

    How To Answer Common College Interview Questions

    While the wording of each question may vary, interviewers tend to ask about similar topics. Knowing this, you can start preparing to answer some of the most common college interview questions well before your actual interview.

    It’s important, however, that you don’t memorize your responses, as you don’t want to sound overly rehearsed. Rather than writing down and reading full-length answers, it’s best to have your main points prepared for each prospective question.

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    Tell Me About Yourself Best Answer

    Keeping all the above-stated tips in mind, heres what a good tell me about yourself sample answer for freshers would look like:

    My name is ______, and I am interested in biology and human physiology. I have always been curious about studying biology as both my parents are doctors, and discussions with them have expanded my knowledge of the healthcare industry.

    I was the co-Leader of the medical club and volunteered at my parents hospital during high school. All this hands-on experience taught me how to interact with patients and hospital administrators. My strengths are excellent leadership skills, problem-solving, and taking the initiative to work.

    My goal is to complete my major in human physiology and contribute to cancer studies. After completing graduation, I would like to work in research.

    Should I Go To College How To Make The Right Choice For You

    College Interview Tips: how to ACE your interview

    Admittedly, we might be somewhat biased because we’ve spent years stressing the importance of attending college to high school students. However, we do recognize that college might not be for everyone.

    Other than the pros and cons of college we mentioned previously, here are some additional factors to consider when deciding whether or not to attend college.

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    Question : What Are Your Academic Weaknesses How Have You Addressed Them

    Why they’re asking this: Colleges want to admit good students, but they’re aware everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Colleges want to see that you have the persistence and work ethic to succeed despite your challenges.

    What they’re looking for: Schools want students who can demonstrate their ability to confront and overcome challenges. Try revealing strategies or specific approaches you’ve taken to improve your academic weaknesses. You could also tell a specific story about how you managed to do well in a subject that was especially difficult for you.

    How to prepare: Be aware of your academic weaknesses and how you’ve addressed them. It’s not good to say that you don’t have any weaknesses. That’s not very believable, and you’ll come off as arrogant.

    Prepare For Your Interview Answer

    Check out this article for a specific guide on the questions you should prepare for. Some common ones include:

    • Why are you interested in this college?
    • What are your academic strengths?
    • What do you plan to be doing ten years from now?

    The questions you’ll be asked pertain to your personality, character, goals, and why you think the school would be a good fit for you. To prepare, you should jot down some notes and practice your responses to the most common interview questions.

    Remember that the school wants to learn about what makes you unique. So, if you’re asked about your greatest strength, don’t just say that you’re hardworking. That’s a response that could be given by thousands of students. If you think you’re especially diligent, you can reveal an anecdote that demonstrates your exceptional work ethic. Being able to give specific examples will make your answers much stronger and more believable.

    While it’s not a bad idea to practice answering common questions, you don’t want to try to memorize your answers or write them out word for word. You should appear conversational in the interview, and you don’t want to have to stress about remembering the exact words of your prepared answers.

    You can do a mock interview with a teacher, counselor, parent, or friend. Have somebody ask you common interview questions and practice responding as if you were in the interview.

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    Preparing For A College Interview If You Only Have One Hour

  • Spend 10 minutes reading the Preparing For A College Interview: A Three-Step Process section that follows so you know what to expect at a college interview.
  • Bullet point your answers to the three essays I recommended writing below . In terms of budgeting your time, consider spending:
  • 10 minutes: Researching your Why us essay
  • 5 minutes: Thinking about what you want to study and why
  • 5 minutes: Coming up with three good questions for your interviewer
  • 10 minutes: Developing your Message Box
  • 5 minutes: Organizing all of the above and then emailing it to yourself
  • 20 minutes: Using these materials to practice answering the The Ultimate List of College Interview Questions
  • 5 minutes: Meditating because meditation is awesome
  • Question : What Do You Expect To Be Doing 10 Years From Now

    How to Ace Your College Interview

    Why they’re asking this: Just to set the record straight, you don’t need to have your entire future figured out. Colleges understand that you probably won’t have everything decided and your plans are likely to change. What they do want is students with direction.

    What they’re looking for: Colleges want students who are motivated to achieve their goals. The bad, general answer is to only say you expect to have a fulfilling career and be making a positive impact on the world. What are some specific activities you’d like to do? How do you plan on impacting the world? You don’t have to limit your plans to professional goals. Do you want to take your mom on a vacation? Or have weekly gatherings with your best friends from high school?

    How to prepare: You can write down some detailed notes answering this question. Paint a picture of the life you want to have in 10 years. That picture should reveal your uniqueness.

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    Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer

    Before the interview, make sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, your resume or student activities sheet, and a list of any standardized test scores. This information will allow your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances of admission, as well as offer any advice that he or she may have on how to improve your application.

    During the interview, be prepared to discuss your courses, your extracurricular experiences, and your reasons for applying to the college . Here are some questions that you may encounter on interview day:

    • So, what sparked your interest in our college?
    • What classes, programs, or activities at our college excite you the most?
    • Any particular major youre interested in pursuing at our college? Why is that?
    • Whats been the most important extracurricular activity to you in high school? Why?
    • What have you liked most about your high school?
    • If you could change one thing about your high school what would it be?
    • What subject do you enjoy most?
    • What has been your most challenging course during high school? How did you cope with/overcome the challenges associated with this course?
    • What do you consider your proudest achievement so far?
    • What do you like to do for fun?
    • How would you friends describe you?
    • What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

    Question 1: What Is An Obstacle You’ve Faced And How Did You Get Through It

    Why they’re asking this: Colleges want to know if you’ve faced any significant challenges in your life. They also want to see that you’re persistent and willing to work hard in order to overcome these obstacles.

    What they’re looking for: It’s fine if you haven’t had some awful, incredibly difficult obstacle in your life. Think of a time when you faced a problem that challenged you, and you put in a lot of effort to solve it. Your obstacle could be related to your home life, school, or an extracurricular activity. In your response, explain how the obstacle challenged you and emphasize what exactly you did to overcome it.

    How to prepare: Think of a significant challenge you’ve had in your life and how you dealt with it. What did you learn from the problem? How did you solve it? Did it change or influence the way you address similar problems?

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    Why Are You Looking To Leave Your Current Job

    This may seem like a place to launch into all the things you dont like about your current job. Or to talk about what a terrible person your boss is. Dont do it. Thats the path you do not want to go down. And thats really what this question tends to prod out of many people.

    If I am interviewing you and ask this question and you tell me all the ways your boss doesnt appreciate you and your company has terrible leadership, Im thinking what youre going to be saying about me in a year when you are interviewing somewhere else.

    Make sure you are framing your answer in a way that doesnt shed bad light on your current or most recent employer. You want to focus on things like youve enjoyed working for the company but your growth options are limited there so you are exploring outside opportunities.

    Questions About Your Academic Interests

    how to ace your college interview sample questions

    What subject areas are you most interested in? My favorite subjects are Which connects to in that

    What do you plan to study in college? I hope to study… Which connects to in that


    Im not yet sure what my major will be, but Im very interested in Because Which connects to in that

    Do you know what career route you want to pursue yet? I hope to be a… Because… Which connects to in that

    Im not yet sure what I want to be, but Im very interested in Because Which connects to in that

    Pro Tip:

    Now that youve had a little practice making connections between ideas youve probably realized either a) youre a natural at this, or b) this is really hard.

    Either way, heres another exercise that will help you improve your interviewing skills. And this exercise is especially useful because, honestly, you wont want to tie every single question back to those 3-5 message box topics. Doing so could feel, at best, forced, and at worst like youre obsessed with those 3-5 things.

    This exercise will help you think outside the box. So to speak.

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