Good Questions to Ask a College Interviewer

October 1, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Good Questions to Ask a College Interviewer

What Happens in a College Interview?

What happens in a college interview? Many universities, although not all of them, require applicants to do a college interview as part of the application process. A representative from the admissions office, a current student, or a college alum may meet with you in person to discuss your application, or perhaps you can participate in a video interview.

What is its Purpose?

The interview can provide a college representative a chance to get to know you better, but it is one of the decisive elements in whether the college will accept you. Additionally, the interview is your chance to:

  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the college.
  • Provide details about yourself that go beyond what is on your transcript.
  • Mention any information from your record that you’d like to explain, such as a brief decline in your grades.
  • Discuss your objectives and the factors that led you to choose this college.
  • Raise good questions to ask a college interviewer to find out information about the college.

How to Prepare?

You and the interviewer will speak privately. If your parent travels with you, he or she won’t likely be present during the interview but may have the opportunity to speak with the interviewer later.

Questions like “Why do you want to go to college?” and “Why do you want to attend this college?” may be asked during an interview. He or she might also inquire about your high school experiences, interests, and achievements.

Young woman preparing for an interview.

You will also be asked if you have questions for the interviewer. Asking questions during an interview demonstrates to the interviewer that you are interested in the college and gives you access to information that isn’t available on the internet or in a brochure. Ask about the program if a particular major has caught your attention. If you intend to live on campus, enquire about the lifestyle there.

What Are Good Questions to Ask a College Interviewer?

What are good questions to ask a college interviewer? Good questions to ask a college interviewer should be as compelling as the responses you provide. Make a unique list of inquiries to bring up throughout each interview. Asking specific questions can demonstrate to your interviewer that you are serious about your college application.

Female student shaking hands with a woman.

Before attending your interview, take into consideration the following sample questions and answers:

1. What feature of this school would you advise each student to consider and why?

By asking, you demonstrate that you value their opinion and are interested in learning what they value most. They may discuss the value of a particular program, such as a career development program, and encourage you to take advantage of it while you are a student there.

2. What prompted you to enroll at this college?

Interviewers for colleges are typically former students, so they can explain to you what it was like when they were there. They might explain that they wanted to make new acquaintances through study groups and social events the school organized, or how belonging to a certain group helped develop their career, so you should pay attention to any shared interests you have. You can learn more about the kind of students the school attracts through their responses.

3. What details regarding the “X” program can you provide?

Research the same programs you are interested in before your college interview so you may ask the interviewer about them. Asking this demonstrates that you thoroughly researched the school beforehand. To make sure the program is what you’re looking for, pay attention to their response.

4. How do weeknights and weekends usually go on campus?

Good questions to ask a college interviewer include finding out if you will have the college experience you want. While some people need to study alone and in a quiet setting, others flourish in an energetic, socially dynamic atmosphere. You can use the response to decide if the university is a good fit for your personality and learning preferences.

5. What is a typical difficulty that students encounter and how do they overcome it?

By posing this query, you are demonstrating to the interviewer that you are already preparing for the challenges you will face in college. They might be able to shed light on typical problems that pupils run across. The interviewer may also be able to offer you good advice on how these students handled difficult circumstances.

6. What is something about the college that you would change?

You might be able to pinpoint any reservations you have by asking this question. They might talk about unimportant things that don’t concern you or your program. You can take into account any information they share if it pertains to you directly and helps you make a decision about which institution to attend.

7. What guidance would you offer a freshman?

Asking for advice on how to best prepare for the many changes that the first year of college brings demonstrates that you are considering your chances of admission. They might share some of the typical issues first-year students encounter with you so you can better prepare to deal with them. Alumni may also share their personal experiences from their time in college, including things they may have done differently.

8. What are the distinctions between the “X” and “Y” programs?

Asking the interviewer to compare two shows demonstrates that you have done your homework on the shows that appeal to you. You can use their response to help you choose which program to enroll in. Ask them to compare the two and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each. They might provide you with insider knowledge that isn’t available from sources that are open to the public.

9. I discovered that kids are concerned about the “X” topic in the school newspaper. Can you elaborate on this for me?

Asking about a current event you read about in the school newspaper demonstrates your desire to be active in the community. This demonstrates you want to be involved in student concerns and campus life.

10. What about your affiliation with this college makes you proud

Whether they are alumni, admissions officers, or a combination of the two, there is a strong likelihood that the person conducting a college interview is proud of the institution. You can determine if these ideals fit with what you hope to achieve from your own college experience by allowing the interviewer to wax lyrical about their experiences or things the institution has done to make them proud.

11. How does this school deal with (the social issue you care deeply about)?

Ask your interviewer to describe what the institution is currently doing for a cause that you are passionate about, such as boosting diversity on the faculty or in the student body, or how the college can lessen its carbon footprint.

Ask this question only if there is a cause you are genuinely invested in, as you should only wish to highlight the issues for which you have genuine enthusiasm.

12. I’m thinking of pursuing “X.” Is the “X” department now engaged in any novel research?

This question reaffirms your interests and your desire for your college education to spur innovation in the area you’ve chosen.

Your interviewer might not be able to respond to this question if they haven’t recently graduated or if they aren’t knowledgeable about the current research being done in a particular department, but they won’t be less likely to recommend you just because they are unable to.

13. I’ve heard of [a well-known or customary college event]. What is it like?

Campus culture is a significant aspect of the college experience. Even though you should not inquire too much about campus life outside of academics but this could be one of the good questions to ask a college interviewer. Your interviewer’s response can help you understand how particular school customs or occasions influenced their college experience.

What questions should you not ask in a college interview?

After we discussed the good questions to ask a college interviewer, on the flip side, there are some questions you should steer clear of during a college interview. Now, what questions should you not ask in a college interview?

Avoid asking queries that the university website’s material can readily answer.

These questions, while kind, reveal a lack of preparation. Investigate the university first. Not only will this aid you during the interview, but it will also give you ideas for your list of interview questions for colleges.

Request specific information that isn’t readily available on the university website instead. For instance, request more details about the courses, teachers, and internship opportunities if only a program description is given.

Don’t talk about your admissions chances to the institution.

Simply said, the decision to extend an offer might not be settled at the time of the interview.

Ask about the school’s current pupils instead. What are their credentials? What can you do to get ready for school to start? Demonstrate your desire to contribute and benefit the student body.

Avoid talking negatively about other universities, particularly those that are rivals, in your queries and chats.

It’s a potent way to establish a rapport by tying people together over “the competition.” However, these discussions will, at best, cause college interviewers to raise an eyebrow and, at worst, will hurt your chances of getting accepted.

Instead, limit your inquiries to those that concern the university, its programs, and traditions.

Asking questions during a college interview that will not help you make selections about colleges is not a good idea.

Being genuine in your inquiries is essential in all circumstances. Many students look for good questions to ask a college interviewer that they think will impress the admissions. The purpose of this part of the interview is utterly lost in this.

Instead: Take this opportunity to determine whether this university is the best fit for you. The best interview questions are the ones that are close to your heart.

Female student waiting in a room.

Finally, it is useful to approach the interview as a discussion in which both you and the interviewer are attempting to learn more about one another. Specifically, throughout the interview, both you and the interviewer are learning more about the institution. Each party is interested in learning if this is a good fit.

If it feels natural, ask questions as the interview progresses. For instance, if the interviewer inquires about your participation on the high school debate team, you can conclude your response by inquiring about debate chances at the institution.

How Do You End a College Interview?

If you’re confused about how do you end a college interview, express gratitude after it’s all done. You’d be astonished at how many students—as well as adults—forget to take this crucial step.

Another phrase you might use is “I greatly appreciate the chance to meet with you.”, “I gained a lot of knowledge today, which has piqued my curiosity in going even more.”, or “I had a great time speaking with you. Thank you for your time.”

These are considerate and careful sentences. You are expressing your appreciation to the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you. You leave a positive impression when you verbally thank them for their effort.

Two people talking while looking at a piece of paper.

You could also send a note of gratitude. Send a thank you email as soon as possible. Within a week, send a thank you letter by snail mail. Mention something you discussed during the interview in your note.

You make a favorable impression when you refer to the topics you discussed in the interview or even incorporate additional information that is relevant to your discussion. Your interviewer will take note of this, and you can then begin to establish a rapport. When universities choose which students to admit, relationships can matter.

Do College Interviews Really Matter?

Do college interviews really matter? One of the elements of the college application process that causes the most anxiety is undoubtedly the college interview. Many students think that having a mediocre to horrible interview will harm their chances of being accepted. Contrary to popular belief, college admissions committees assign less importance to the interview. Even while it only accounts for about 5% of your overall application, the interview gains additional weight if it’s conducted on-campus by an admissions officer.

Having said that, there is no component of the application that “won’t count” or “doesn’t matter,” so you should take your interview seriously and adequately prepare for it. While a poor interview may prevent you from getting the job, a strong one might. Knowing what is at stake will help you prepare good questions to ask a college interviewer.

What Risks are Involved in College Interviews?

An interviewer may discover a lot about you in a short period, including your personality and character, your capacity for discussion and question-answering, as well as your demeanor and self-presentation, to mention a few.

“Many times we learn things in interviews that we wouldn’t have learned from anywhere else in the application … We think a really important part of holistic admissions is to allow the applicant to tell his or her story,” says Melissa Costanzi, senior associate director of admissions at Georgetown University, where interviews are required for first-year applicants.

Councillor talking to a female student.

The term “holistic admissions” refers to an evaluation that takes into consideration both academic and non-academic aspects of a candidate to evaluate their likelihood of success.

Unlike any other step in the application process, the college interview is your chance to give your application life—to give your name a face, a voice, and a personality.

Indeed, the fact that so many colleges spend time, money, and other resources planning and carrying out student interviews suggests the significance of these interviews. The application procedure is intended to demonstrate your true self to admissions committees.

The interview is a fantastic chance to set yourself apart from other applicants to a prestigious university. One surefire approach to do this is to get ready with good questions to ask a college interviewer if you want to make a good impression.

It Expresses Interest.

You can go above and beyond simply “showing up” for your interview by taking the time to ask questions and demonstrating a keen interest in the institution. In order to make sure this college is a good fit for you, you’re taking the time to ask them questions as well.

The Initiative is Visible.

Going above and beyond during an interview demonstrates to the interviewer that you are willing to invest the time necessary to properly prepare for the interview. You don’t need to be reminded, and you weren’t unprepared when you arrived. Schools like it when students exhibit that.

It Illustrates Your Research.

You can convey to the interviewer that you are serious about the school by asking questions. You went above and above to be prepared for the interview by conducting further study prior and inquiring about certain clubs, organizations, or activities at the campus. For this reason, you shouldn’t ask basic inquiries, as colleges frequently have the answers to such “simple queries” on their websites.

Asking incredibly specific questions so demonstrates to them that you have done more than simply skim the surface of the institution.

College interviews need careful preparation in order to show your best to the alumni or admissions officers. AdmissionSight can assist you in getting ready from crafting good questions to ask a college interviewer to tips for mastering your college admissions interview. Feel free to set up an initial consultation with AdmissionSight experts to discuss this further.


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