College Interviews Dos and Donts

December 20, 2022
By AdmissionSight

College Interviews Dos and Donts

What are college interviews?

What exactly are college admissions interviews? College interviews are a component of the application process for many schools, but not all of them. Some schools require it, while others do not. You can schedule a face-to-face conversation with a member of the admissions staff, a current student, or a graduate of the institution.

Alternatively, we might be able to conduct a video interview with you. You will have a conversation with the interviewer in a one-on-one setting. If you bring a parent, likely, they will not be allowed in the room where the interview is being conducted. However, they may be allowed to speak with the interviewer after concluding the interview.

The person conducting the interview will also inquire as to whether or not you have any questions. You can demonstrate to the interviewer that you are interested in the college by asking questions, and by doing so, you will be able to obtain information unavailable on the website or in the brochure.

If there is a particular major that you are considering pursuing, you should inquire about the program. You should inquire about campus life if you intend to live on the college campus. Please try to refrain from asking questions to which you can quickly locate the answers on the college’s website.

What is the importance of college interviews?

What exactly are the benefits of attending college interviews? Some schools give interviews a greater amount of weight than others. Interviews are a method for educational institutions to evaluate the level of interest exhibited by prospective students. A face-to-face interview gives admissions officers the best possible insight into who you are as a person, which is especially helpful for schools concerned about how you might fit into the school’s culture.

According to a survey collected by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the primary considerations for freshman admission have remained relatively unchanged for several decades. According to the survey results, the grades a student earns in high school courses that count toward college credit are the most important consideration. According to the report, this was followed by the quality of the curriculum and the grades received in all of the classes (60%) and then admission test scores (53%).

Questions like “Why do you want to go to college?” and “Why do you want to attend this college?” are things that an interviewer might ask. Additionally, he or she may inquire about your activities and achievements during your senior year of high school and your hobbies and interests.

What to avoid in college interviews?

The college interview is probably not the most important part of your application; however, if you make a good impression, it can help you get into the school of your choice. If the college you’re applying to uses a holistic admissions process, the interview is a great opportunity to put a face and personality to the application you submitted.

Young man being interviewed by someone from UChicago..

Doing so can hurt your chances of being accepted by making a poor first impression. As such, you should know how to avoid common pitfalls during college interviews. When preparing for a college interview, it is important to ensure that you do not make the mistakes listed below.

1. Arriving late

Your interviewers are likely to have a lot going on. Alumni interviewers are likely taking time away from their full-time jobs to meet with you, and individuals working in campus admissions typically have multiple appointments back-to-back.

Arriving late causes disruptions in the schedule and demonstrates a lack of responsibility on your part. Not only will you start your interview with an interviewer who is annoyed with you, but you will also be giving the impression that you won’t be a good college student. Students unable to effectively manage their time in college typically struggle with their academic work.

If you are confronted with challenges on the day of your interview, make it a point to contact the admissions office well in advance of your appointed time to provide an update on the circumstances.

2. Underdressing

Dressing business casual is your best bet, but the most important thing is to ensure that you are neat and well-put-together. If you show up wearing ripped jeans, it will give the impression that you don’t care about what people think of you. It is important to keep in mind that the guidelines for your clothing will change according to the college’s character and the season.

For instance, you could get away with wearing shorts to college interviews during the summer on campus. Still, you should avoid doing so if the interview is taking place at the place of business of an alumni interviewer.

3. Talking too little

Your interviewer is interested in learning more about you. If you respond to every question with a “yes,” “no,” or a grunt, you will not impress anyone, and you will not demonstrate that you can contribute to the campus’s intellectual life. You can demonstrate your interest in a college by doing well in an interview for that college. It is common for people to interpret silence and brief responses as a sign of disinterest.

It is normal for you to feel anxious during college interviews; however, you should try to calm your nerves enough so that you can participate in the discussion. You should also get ready for typical interview questions, such as the one that asks you to discuss a book that you are currently reading or one that you would recommend.

Young female student talking to an interviewer in an office.

Be sure to inquire about the interviewer’s past involvement with the educational institution. A successful interview is a conversation that goes in both directions.

4. Doing an interview with a prepared speech

During the interview, you want to make sure you sound like you. If you have responses to questions prepared in advance, you risk coming off as insincere and artificial. It is a sign of holistic admissions that colleges use interviews to evaluate applicants. The university is interested in gaining a holistic understanding of who you are.

If you give a prepared speech about your experience in leadership, it will most likely sound rehearsed, and it may fail to impress the audience. Make an effort to unwind, be authentic, and speak naturally. Don’t memorize answers; think about how you would react to various interview questions and prepare responses accordingly.

5. Chewing gum

It is distracting and annoying and will also give the impression that you are disrespecting the person. The person conducting the interview must pay attention to your responses and not your smacking mouth noises. During an interview, putting something in your mouth sends the message that you have little interest in having a meaningful conversation with the person interviewing you. Also, make an effort to refrain from chewing on your fingernails.

6. Invite your parents to come with you

Your interviewer is more interested in getting to know you than learning about your parents. When your father answers your questions for you, it can be difficult to give the impression that you are mature enough to succeed in college. It is in your best interest not to inquire as to whether or not your parents will be permitted to participate in the interview; in most cases, the interviewer will not invite them in.

The interview is one of the first opportunities you will have to demonstrate that you are confident in your ability to handle the increased level of responsibility that comes with attending college. Your interview is not the time or place for your parents to ask any questions they may have about the college that you are applying to.

7. Exhibiting a Lack of Interest

Although it should go without saying, you might be surprised by what some of the students will say during an interview. If you remark on college interviews like “you’re my backup school” or “I’m here because my parents told me to apply,” you will likely score fewer points. It is in colleges’ best interest to have a high acceptance rate for the students to whom they extend enrollment offers.

Students who aren’t interested in the material won’t assist in reaching that significant goal. Even academically overqualified students can receive rejection letters if they demonstrate no real interest in applying to that school. This is especially true if the student has not applied to other schools.

8. Failing to conduct adequate research regarding the college

You will give the impression that you aren’t interested in the college enough to do some basic research if you ask questions that are readily available on the college’s website and could be answered there. Ask questions that demonstrate your familiarity with the area, such as “Your Honors Program has my attention; would you be able to provide me with more information on it?” You can easily find the answers to questions about the size of the school or the admissions requirements on your own.

9. Lying

Some students will embellish or outright lie about their academic background to boost their chances of getting into the school of their choice. Stay away from this trap. Be genuine and present your experiences in an open and forthright manner. During college interviews, if you lie, tell only half the truth, or exaggerate, you could find yourself in serious trouble. A lie can come back to haunt you, and colleges are not interested in enrolling students who are dishonest because of the potential for negative consequences.

10. Being rude

The value of good manners cannot be overstated. If there is a pandemic, you should bump elbows instead of shaking hands. Use the person’s name when you address them. Pretend like you couldn’t be more thrilled to be there. Say “thank you.”

A student being interviewed by a UChicago admission officer

If your parents are in the waiting area, feel free to introduce them to everyone. Say “thank you” again. Send a note of gratitude to the person. Students known to be rude will not be allowed to participate in the interview process because the interviewer is looking for people who will positively contribute to the campus community.

Now you know how to handle your college interviews, your college admissions should be where you pay attention next. To ensure that you get into the college you want, you can get help with AdmissionSight. With ten years of experience with college admission experts, Admissionsight can help you get into the college of your choice. You can talk to our experts today to get an initial consultation.







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