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College Interviews

Student Interview Practice and Tips

5 min readseptember 1, 2021


Interview Tips and Practice Questions

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Overview 💡

Whether it's an official interview, college interview, scholarship interview, alumni interview, in person, or over Zoom, all interviews are comprised of a few basic components. On this page, we’ll go over the basic questions to prepare for, a few templates, and the general process. 

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The General Process ⚙️

The Introduction 

  • All interviews will generally ask where your passions and career 💼 goals lie. Be sure to try and follow a theme when discussing your extracurriculars and passions, and focus on how they relate to how the school fits into your plans. Remember, universities and scholarship boards are not necessarily looking for the most qualified applicant every time, but they often search for the best fitting candidate.
  • Make a connection! Try and find common ground with your interviewer, whether it be a love for sports, social justice, food, or activity 🏃. The more personable and palatable you are, the better.
  • Make sure to formally address your interviewer. Always remember to use the correct pronouns as well as prefixes to their name. Specify Professor, Doctor 🥼, or Mr, Mrs, Ms, Mx, and so on when applicable.
  • Be present. It's easy to get distracted over technological platforms 💻 like Zoom, but don't be tempted to pick up a phone or start typing away during an interview.

The Interview 

  • Most interviews 🤨 will begin with a few questions about who you are, what you have done, and other notable parts of your application. Some interviews are more specific than others, especially if they are invite-only.
  • If your interviewer doesn't let you know how long the interview will be, the length usually depends on the type of interview and subjects discussed. Typically, this will take no more than one hour.
  • Don't be afraid of showing off your accomplishments! As long as you make sure to be excited and proud rather than self-centered, interviewers will observe your passion 🔥 and take note of your success. It is advisable to keep these discussions short and sweet, allow your interviewer to ask questions about your experiences rather than bombard them with information.
  • Humanize yourself 🤖. This is your time to show that you are a real live person, not just the hundredth application they will read. If there have been hardships blocking your success or personal anecdotes that provide insight into your character, tell your story! The more you separate yourself from the other applicants, the better chance you have of moving forward in the process.
  • Address how the college can help you specifically achieve your goals 🎯. Reference classes you want to take, professors you wish to learn from, and events that you wish to participate in. This is your way of showing them your interest in the school!
  • Answer their inquiries honestly, and elaborate heavily! Make sure to provide good context for things like extracurricular decisions, leadership opportunities, and community engagement 🏘.
  • Consider crafting an elevator pitch to introduce yourself!

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The Closing 

  • End on a good note! Thank your interviewer for their time 🕰, effort, and energy spent on assisting you through the complicated process of admissions or scholarship.
  • Reiterate your hopefulness and remain positive 😄–even if mistakes were made during the interview.
  • Ask questions! This face-to-face time with your counselor is a wonderful experience to learn about the university itself. As about greek life, sports, alumni programs, anything you think of 🤔.

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Practice Interview Questions 🧐

College Interview ⭐️

Introduction

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What are your short-term goals for the summer?
  3. What local causes, organizations, or extracurriculars are you involved in?
  4. Do you have any fun plans coming up?
  5. Why are you applying to this university?
  6. What do you plan to gain from this meeting?
  7. Do you have a visit soon?

The Interview

  1. What lessons have you learned from your extracurriculars in High School?
  2. Are there any outside circumstances that would inhibit your application?
  3. How does the university play into your long-term goals?
  4. What can you offer your peers as a student?
  5. Why do you want to major/minor in your field?
  6. What strengths do you hope to utilize throughout your college experience?
  7. What weaknesses do you hope to strengthen in university?
  8. How did the pandemic affect you?
  9. What is an issue that you confronted in your personal life or community, and how did it affect you?
  10. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Scholarship Interview 💰

Introduction

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What are your short-term goals for the summer?
  3. What local causes, organizations, or extracurriculars are you involved in?
  4. What are your finances like?

The Interview

  1. What lessons have you learned from your extracurriculars in High School?
  2. Are there any outside circumstances that make you a better applicant?
  3. How does what you will use the money for play into your long-term goals?
  4. Why do you want to major/minor in your field?
  5. What strengths do you hope to utilize with this funding?
  6. What weaknesses do you hope to strengthen with this funding?
  7. How did the pandemic affect you?
  8. What is an issue that you confronted in your personal life or community, and how did it affect you?
  9. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Some of these stellar college admissions YouTubers have great advice on answering interview questions!

Resources:

Email Templates 📧

Asking for an Interview 📑

Hello (Prefix) (Interviewer Name).
My name is (Your Name), and I am an applicant to (University). I am eager to dive deeper into the admissions process and have a few questions for you about life at (University)! I would love to set a time to meet with you to discuss my upcoming endeavors.
I am a prospective (Your Major) student and have found a passion for (Your Desired Career) in prior years. After learning about (University), I have discovered that it may be the perfect place for me to explore my path and begin my coursework as a college student! I am so excited to get this process started, and getting connected with you seems like a wonderful next step.
Do you have any availability in the coming days or weeks to speak with me? I am reachable via this email and can gladly set aside time to discuss with you. I am looking forward to meeting you in the near future, and I thank you for your time!
Thanks again,
- (Your Name)

Following Up After Interview 🕒

Hello (Prefix) (Interviewer Name).
It was wonderful to speak with you about (University), and I appreciate your time spent helping me throughout this process. I am incredibly excited to continue learning about what (University) has to offer and would love to connect with you later to touch base! I am hopeful for good news and will be waiting for an opportunity to connect with more faculty members.
On that note, is there anyone involved in (Major) or (Interest) that I should reach out to in the following days to learn more?
Thanks again!
- (Your Name)
For a PDF version of this guide, click here!

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