Your interview is designed to be a conversation between you and an admissions counselor, senior student or alum of the school. What the college will eventually do with the information from your interview are specific to the individual schools. Some interviews are solely informational and do not play a role in your admissions review and decision. Other schools put a strong emphasis on the interview, using the notes from those meetings as part of the student review. Many schools fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
At your interview, you will most likely be asked about your academic interests, your academic record, and how you like to spend your free time. Be prepared to talk about why you are considering the specific college. It is important that you bring a set of questions specific to the college to ask the admissions counselor, and don’t be shy about bringing along a few notes about the questions you want to ask. These questions should not be answered easily on the website and require a little thought in preparing them. It may also be useful to bring along your transcript. Remember that it is your responsibility to help the college learn about you, and for you to learn all you can about the College. Arriving prepared and on time is imperative.
Please remember that admissions interviewers are people too! You may leave your interview feeling really good about it, the college, and yourself. That’s great! It is also possible that you won’t connect with your interviewer, or your interviewer isn’t easy to speak with (much more prevalent with alumni interviewers than on campus ones), don’t stress! For most schools, the interview is more for you than for them.
Mrs. Ventilla offers mock interview appointments for students who wish to prepare for upcoming interviews.
Some general advice:
Schedule an interview in advance and confirm the day before the interview.
Dress neatly and professionally, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through! Suits aren’t necessary, and ripped jeans aren’t appropriate. If you would wear your outfit to church, out to dinner with grandma, or to a school award ceremony - it’s appropriate. If you would wear it to a concert with friends - it’s probably not.
Create a resume and print it out.
Even if you don’t give it to the interviewer, the act of putting together your resume will help you organize your thoughts.
Sanitize your social media presence and check your privacy settings, if you haven’t already.
Know what’s going on in the world today - read the news!
Practice talking about your interests, your goals, and your passions.
Research the school and what it has to offer.
Prepare 3 questions that you can ask - and not something you could find an answer to on a website. (3 gives you some leeway in case 1 is answered during your conversation)
On Interview Day:
Allow time for traffic or getting lost. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early.
Turn your phone on vibrate (or off, once you’ve connected with your interviewer), put it away, and leave it there.
Parents are generally not a part of an interview and should plan to wait outside.
Shake your interviewer’s hand and introduce yourself. Make frequent eye contact.
Speak clearly and confidently. If you’re not very confident - fake it ‘til you make it!
Expand on your answers - if your favorite class is Math - why? Most significant activity is the newspaper - what have you contributed? The more you share, the more insight your interviewer can get into YOU, and the more opportunities they have to make connections.
Focus on those things that you are most passionate about - your authenticity will shine through!
Undecided about major? That’s ok - but be able to clearly articulate some of your interests, no matter how diverse.
Ask the representative or alum about their experiences at the college.
Always send a note or email of thanks after the interview!