Fewer and fewer colleges are offering a formal, in-person interview with college applicants as part of their admissions process. The ones that do often use alumni instead of paid staff, for obvious reasons, and even then the college will often say that it is an “optional” part of the process. In fact, interviews are NOT optional. If you have the opportunity to do one, you absolutely should.
To make your interview a success, remember a few key things:
- Come ready to tell stories. This isn’t the time to list achievements, or give bullet points on all your activities. In this way, the interview is more like an oral essay rather than a written resume. Stories will linger in the mind of the interviewer far longer than the fact that you were captain of the debate team. Stories create an emotional connection and make the interviewer invested in you; they make the interviewer want to champion your cause with the admissions department. Like your essay, tell a story that reveals something of who you are and if it includes facing adversity, all the better.
- Be ready to explain why you’re interested in their particular college.
- Look up a list of traditional interview questions, and have answers ready.
- Come prepared with questions of your own. Especially if you’re with an alumni, getting them to fondly reminisce about their college experience will create good vibes in the room, will endure you to them, and you’ll actually learn something too!
- Be punctual; be humble; be grateful; be curious; be interested.
- And remember to always send a hand written thank you note afterwards.
If you follow these key points, you’re bound to make a wonderful impression and this will go a long ways towards not only getting admitted, but towards getting a great scholarship offer.
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