How to impress the interviewer during the college admissions interview? | Doing College | Elizabeth LaScala | Tech US News


It’s easy to impress a university interviewer – if you’re willing to do a little work in three areas: know yourself, know the school, and tap into the wisdom of the person in front of you.

Get to know yourself. Before the interview, take a few minutes to review the resume and read the transcript. Now write down five qualities that you show and that the interviewer would know well. It’s your job to make sure you weave that information into the conversation. Be sure to show, not tell, by developing a few vignettes about yourself and your experiences that show you have one or more of these five traits.

Practice makes perfect, so practice interviewing with an adult you think can be objective, or with your college counselor. Be sure to include specific examples wherever possible. At the end of the practice interview, ask that person to share what they learned about you. Did it match your list?

Get to know the school. Read the entry in Fiske College Guide 2023 or Top 388 Colleges: 2023 Edition by The Princeton Review. These are subjective assessments, but valuable. Then go to the college website. Find classes, programs and opportunities that may interest you. Check out specific courses and professors, social events and clubs, research and internship availability. Check out the college newspaper to understand current hot button issues on campus. Write three reasons why this college would be a good fit. This information will come in handy when the interviewer asks why you are applying to college.

Get to know your interlocutor: The last part of a good interview is knowing how to answer the question, “Do you have any questions?” Think about it in advance and prepare yourself with five well-thought-out questions. Avoid information that you can easily find on your own. Instead, involve the interviewer in a personal evaluation of the faculty. If the admissions officer, start by asking, “Did you attend (name of college)?” If yes, follow up with: “Looking back, how would you describe the impact of your education after graduation?” Regardless of the question you choose, you should lead the interviewer to discuss the positives he experienced while attending college and the value he sees in it today. If the person is not an alum, say, “But I imagine in your position you have the opportunity to talk to many current and past students. What do they think the impact of their education is?” Change this question to whatever you feel comfortable with, then move on to the others.

As long as you come prepared, good interviewers will know how to bring out the best in you and leave you feeling excited about the process and the school. You always hear Be yourself and have fun! But also, Be ready!

Elizabeth LaScala PhD guides college, transfer and graduate school applicants through the complex world of admissions. It helps students choose majors and programs of interest, develops top college lists, offers personalized essay coaching, and tools and strategies to help students navigate each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth helps students from all backgrounds increase their chances of receiving scholarships and financial aid awards. For more information, call (925) 385-0562 or visit Elizabeth on her website.

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