STAY CALM. Prepare by practicing with friends and formulate a few questions to ask. Dress for the occasion. Follow up with a thank-you note.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. Although most admission offices will be accommodating to students who would like an interview without an appointment, in order to ensure that someone will be available to sit and talk with you when you visit campus, it is always best to call ahead and make an appointment.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY. When you are picking out an outfit for an interview, keep in mind that you’re not going to the prom and you are also not going to your friend’s house to play football. You’ll want to wear something like what you might wear to dinner at a nice restaurant.
BE YOURSELF. Don’t worry if you’re not the star scorer on your soccer team, haven’t gotten all A’s during high school, and were never the class president. Colleges are looking for a well-rounded, personable student who can share candid stories about his or her experiences. The questions are meant to help you tell colleges who you really are as a person and a student. Just be honest and answer the questions as best you can. If the interview is going well, you won’t even feel like you are answering questions; you’ll feel like you’re just having a conversation.
MAKE EYE CONTACT. It may be awkward and you might be nervous, but it’s always best to look at someone in the eye when you are talking with them. Making eye contact shows that you are listening to the admission counselor and that you are serious about your answers to their questions. Besides, you won’t find the answers on the ceiling or out the window, so why look there?
TAKE YOUR TIME. If an admission counselor asks you a difficult or challenging question, he or she is only trying to dig a little deeper to learn more about your personality. Sometimes questions are intended to be slightly more challenging, so take your time answering them. It is perfectly okay for you to say something like “Oh, I need to think about that one for a minute,” rather than blurting out something like “I don’t know. No one ever asked me that before.” Admission counselors don’t expect you to have immediate answers to all of their questions, so take your time to ensure that you are answering their questions with thoughtful answers.
TURN THE TABLES. It’s always a good idea to have some questions in mind that you want to ask the counselor at the end of the interview. Not only does asking your own questions show that you are truly interested in the school, but it also allows for you to interview the counselor and find out what his or her experiences have been like at the school, either as a student or as a staff member.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Read the information the college has sent you. If you have not received admission literature, consult the college guides in your school or library or on the Internet.
HERE ARE SOME TYPICAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS. Why are you considering this college? How did you come to include us among your choices? What makes you think this college and you are right for each other? Where else are you applying and why? Which is your first choice? What do you hope to major in? Why? If you were the principal of your school, what would you change? What are your plans for the future? What do you expect to be doing ten years from now? What have you liked or disliked about your high school? What would you like to tell us about yourself? What newspapers and magazines do you read? What have books not required by your courses you read recently? What television shows do you watch? Tell us about your family? How do you spend a typical afternoon after school? Evening? Weekend? What extracurricular activities have you found most satisfying? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Do you have any heroes, contemporary or historical? How would your best friend describe you? If you could talk with any one person, whom would it be and why? Globalization? What events have been crucial in your life? What is the most significant contribution you have made to your school or community? What is the most important thing you have learned in high school? What do you want to get out of your college experience?
THE MAGIC QUESTION. There is always one SINGLE question behind every question you are asked: “Why should we accept you?” Be sure that every response you make, regardless of the question, ends in answering this question.