What To Expect During A College Interview

If you're confused about how to prepare for a college interview and want to make a big impression, this is a good question to ask.

Updated June 14, 2023 · 1 Min Read

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Although interviewing for college admission is not much different from applying for a job, it's good to know what to expect. Your interviewer is likely to ask a number of standard questions, the most common of which appear below. Your responsibilities consist of:

A bit of practice in answering the following queries will serve you well.

1. Why Do You Want to Attend Our College?

Hopefully, you've done your homework on this one, for you'll need to get specific. Whether you're attracted to the school's great foreign language department, acclaimed pre-med courses or a particularly respected professor, state that now. Don't, however, mention any desire to get rich quick or retire early.

2. What Makes You the Person You Are?

This question is trickier than it sounds. Your interviewer really wants to learn what sets you apart from other applicants, so don't respond generically. If you volunteer at the local pet rescue, act in community theater or help deliver Meals on Wheels, these are the things you want to highlight.

3. What Person, Living, Dead or Fictitious, Has Had the Greatest Influence on Your Life?

If you're haven't seen this one coming, you could be stuck for an answer. Be ready not only to identify an individual but also to explain why he or she has made such a strong impression.

4. What Major Have You Chosen and Why?

It is not unusual to enter college with no specific major in mind, so stating that you'd like to take a few classes before making a final decision is completely acceptable. If, on the other hand, you have selected a major, be ready to explain your choice.

5. Describe How You Overcame a Specific Challenge

In asking this question, the interviewer is more interested in your problem-solving abilities than your personal life. Be less specific about the situation itself and more detailed concerning the steps you took to prevail.

6. What Do You Like to Do for Fun?

This is the interviewer's way of determining how well-rounded you are, so if you play sports, bird-watch or sing in your church choir, mention that here. If, on the other hand, your choice of recreation centers on the local nightlife, keep that information to yourself.

7. If You Could Have Done One Thing Differently in Your Past, What Would it Be?

Be careful with this one. While everyone has regrets, it’s best to put a positive spin on yours. Say things like, "I would have volunteered more" or "I'm sorry that I didn’t spend more time mentoring younger students."

8. Where Do You See Yourself Ten Years From Now?

Surprisingly enough, few people expect someone just entering college to have the future all mapped out, and an answer that seems too glib could come across as phony. If you're trying to decide between two or three different career paths, say so. The interviewer will appreciate your honesty.

9. Do You Have Any Questions?

It is the rare interviewer who will not give you a chance to make some inquiries of your own, so be sure to have a few at the ready. Your queries must be pertinent to the college at which you are interviewing. Asking for clarification of an earlier point is a great way to show that you've been paying attention.

Preparation is Key

During any college interview, remember to:

A bit of practice beforehand will help you prepare for your college interview, giving you the confidence to breeze through the thorniest interview process.

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