If simply hearing the phrase “college interview” makes your blood run cold, you’re not alone. It’s one thing to write an essay – when you can edit, rewrite, and delete as much as your heart desires – but there’s no editing during an interview. Because you’ve only got one shot to make a great impression, thorough preparation for a college interview is essential. Here are our top tips for making sure you put your very best foot forward.
Do the practice questions.
The best way to practice for your college interview is to simply run through the common question over and over again. While you don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script, you also don’t want to show up without a few ideas and answers in your back pocket. With a parent, friend, teacher, teammate, or an Enrichery coach, run through some of the most common questions that college interviewers ask – we think the ones below are a great place to start. You don’t want to draw a blank when the interviewer asks you why you like their school or what your goals are!
- Tell me more about yourself and why you’d like to be a student at [school].
- What do you hope to major in and why?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- How would your friends probably describe you to someone who has never met you before?
- What do you hope to learn about yourself in the next four years of college?
- What’s the most memorable book you have read this year and why?
- What is your favorite subject in school this year?
- What are three interesting things about you that I wouldn’t know from your application or resume?
- Which other colleges have you applied to? Is there anything specific you’re looking for in the colleges that you’re applying to?
Brainstorm a few questions to ask them.
Often, an interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them about the school. This is an opportunity for three things: to show that you’ve done thoughtful research into the school, to share something about yourself you’ve wanted to sneak into the conversation, and to connect with the interviewer. An example of each is:
- Show you’ve done your research: I’m planning to major in [major of choice], and I’m particularly interested in studying under [professor] because of their work doing [example]. Are there any other professors in that department that are doing particularly interesting work? Are there any specific courses you’d recommend?
- Share something new about yourself: I’m passionate about long-distance running, and that’s something I plan to do throughout my time in college for self-care. Are there any good running trails around campus? How is the campus gym?
- Connect with the interview: What was your favorite thing about attending [school]? If you could go back and tell yourself anything prior to your college experience, what would it be?
Practice, practice, and practice (then practice four more times).
The more you run through practice questions, the more comfortable you’ll get with them. The more questions you do, the more likely you’ll have a general answer for everything the interviewer asks. Practice with other people. Practice alone in your car. Practice in the mirror. More practice results in more confidence, which is important for a great interview.
Would you rather have a conversation with a robotic person who is clearly trying to say everything perfectly, or a person who is being authentic, warm, and personable? Interviewers are human, and they want to have an enjoyable conversation. While you don’t want to show up in sweats and start chatting without a filter, you don’t want to focus so much on impressing them that you’re not yourself. Smile, and be confident in what you bring to the table.
College interviews are intimidating – after all, you’ve never done them before and probably have no idea what to expect. Fortunately, they’re nothing new for our Enrichery coaches. Prepping with parents, siblings, and friends is helpful, but practicing with someone who can give nuanced and experienced feedback is ideal. Contact us today to book an interview prep session (or three), and you can walk into that interview with some well-earned confidence.