The interview is a common part of the US college admissions process. If you are nervous about it and want to make a good impression, it’s best to consider some habits to avoid during your upcoming college admissions interview.
1. Asking Questions That Are Answered on the Website
It’s great to appear interested in the school at your college admission interview, and asking certain questions is a good way to show that interest. But there are some questions you should never ask, and those are the ones that can be answered with a simple online search.
For example, do not show up to the interview and ask which majors are available, if the school is public or private, or how many students go there. These questions are easily answered from a simple glance at the school’s website, so asking them will show that you haven’t done your research.
Instead, ask more specific questions. For instance, if you already know what you would like to major in and also know you want to study abroad during your junior year, ask if this would be possible and how you could ensure that your core requirements are met in time.
2. Dressing Inappropriately
When you dress for your interview, you want to make sure you’re not too formal or too casual. A tuxedo is not necessary, but a tank top and flip flops won’t be appropriate, either. Dress pants or a skirt with a nice collared shirt or blouse are always safe bets. You want to look respectable, but you also want to be comfortable and be yourself – after all the admissions board wants to get to know you.
When in doubt, you can always call the admissions office and ask about the proper attire. In addition, be sure to take the local weather into account when choosing the right outfit for your college admissions interview.
3. Showing Up Late
Just as with a regular job interview, it’s best to be punctual. In fact, try to show up about 15 minutes early so you have some time to get familiar with the setting where the interview will take place. By the time the interviewer calls you in, you should feel relaxed, not rushed.
4. Being Unprepared to Answer Basic Questions
The typical US college admissions interview will require you to answer a series of questions about yourself. For example, the interviewer might ask you the reasons you want to go to the college and how you heard about the school to begin with.
You might also be asked what makes you a unique applicant, so be prepared to discuss the ways in which you stand out. You could even get a more basic request to tell the interviewer about yourself, so instead of wasting time trying to come up with an answer on the spot, have a succinct response prepared.
5. Trying To Be Anyone But Yourself
Of course, you want to put your best foot forward during the college admissions interview. But this shouldn’t mean pretending to be someone else. If you have to change too much about yourself to fit into the mold of the perfect applicant, maybe it’s not the school for you.
So if you find yourself scrambling for ways to improve the answer to every question you are asked, and end up not even recognizing yourself during the interview, take a step back and consider whether this is the right school to apply to.
And of course, remember that the interview is not the only part of the college admissions process. If you have good test scores and grades coupled with strong recommendations and a unique personal statement, then you should have a great shot at admission as long as you show up and do your best at the interview.