How to Prepare for an Interview

Are you ready to find your fit?

Some people do not look forward to their first college interviews. This may be because they believe the interviewer will judge them as inadequate for the school, but this is not necessarily the purpose of this conversation. As a matter of fact, the initial consultation benefits you just as much as it benefits the college. Rather than seeking to reject unworthy candidates, the interviewer wants to make sure that the college/university has what you are looking for and will be a good place for you to earn your degree.

Sample Initial Interview Questions

Now that you know that your upcoming evaluation doesn’t have to be intimidating, you are ready to prepare for your meeting. If you have ever been on a job interview before, you are already familiar with the style of a college interview. Similar to a job interview, the initial questions will be about you and your plans after you leave school. For example, you should not be surprised to hear the following:

• What makes you want to come to this college/university?
• Where would you like to be in 10 years?
• What would you like to study? Why?
• What do you consider to be your strengths/weaknesses?
• What three adjectives best describe you?

The above-listed questions are highly personal, and with them, the interviewer is asking you to sell your qualities and explain why they are a good fit for the school. Sometimes, people appear to be a little overconfident when answering these types of questions. Your interviewer may view this negatively, so make sure that your assessment of yourself is balanced.

Ask People You Know

If you know someone who attended your prospective school, ask that person what he or she was asked in the initial interview. Even if you don’t know anyone who went to the school you would like to attend, this exercise can be very helpful to you. Just make sure to ask several people who went to college about their experiences, and you will have a very good idea of the questions you are likely to hear.

Practice Giving Your Answers

Once you have a reasonable list of questions, you can begin preparing answers to them. A great strategy is to write these answers down and then ask someone to play the role of the interviewer while you practice giving your answers. When it comes time to meet with your interviewer, you will appear relaxed and sure of yourself because you took the time to rehearse.

Prepare Your Own List of Questions

Part of your research must include learning something about the school you are interested in attending. Make a point of visiting the campus and spending the day there. Find out what it is like to be a student. You are also free to perform an Internet search on the schools you aspire to attend. This will help you develop a list of questions that you can ask during your conference.

Most likely, you will have an opportunity to show the interviewer that you are fully engaged in this process by asking questions. Potential students often wish to know what life will be like once classes begin, so they ask the following:

• How much homework do students have each week?
• Do students have an opportunity to participate in class discussions?
• Do students make presentations in class?
• Are the professors accessible to students?
• Does the college/university have any distinctive programs?
• Does the school sponsor any campus events?

The point is to relax and not pretend to be anyone else. Colleges and universities are looking for individuals, so they want to hear your unique voice.

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