How to Craft an Elevator Pitch for Your College Interview

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Overview 💡

While the college interview, if required, is only one step of the entire college application process, this is truly your time to make yourself stand out 🤩 from the application body and show your personality in direct conversation. In this 30-60 minute conversation (usually with an alumnus from the school), you have the opportunity to talk more about yourself and your passions and let the university learn 🧠 more about what type of person you are. If you don't know what you want to do or what career paths interest you, make sure to check out this guide about discovering yourself.

To learn more about the college interview process and breakdown, check out the Fiveable-created guide here.

Crafting an Elevator Pitch ✒️

The elevator pitch of yourself to the school is one of the most important parts of the interview. This is typically a 45 to 60-second sales pitch 🧑‍💼 giving more context about your background, your passions, and why you want to go to the specific school. The basic idea is that you should be able to demonstrate 2 or 3 of the most important traits of yourself in the time of an average elevator ride. To start planning out your pitch, take a look at the guide below:

Setup Questions

  • Tell me more about yourself
  • Why do you want to go to our school?
  • What do you want to major in?

Components of the Pitch

  • Name, School, and First-Choice Major
  • Give this background information at the very start of your speech
  • 2-3 most important traits
  • For this information, don't directly tell the interviewer. Instead, write these values down and try to see if you can show these traits to the listener from your experiences.
  • Your main activities in High School
  • This sentence gives more context to what you chose to put your time towards in the 4 years of high school.
  • What you can offer for the school
  • Details such as what you plan to pursue in college, your existing experience in the field, or anything that makes you unique can be included.
  • 45-60 seconds (100 - 130 words)
  • Aim to be within this time limit to maintain the listener's attention


  • Try to maintain fluency by eliminating filler 🗣 words such as "uh", "um", "like", "basically", "literally", etc.
  • Do some research beforehand about the school's culture and values to ensure that your chosen traits align closely with what the university is all about. These are steps that are also integral to choosing the right colleges to apply to or attend!
  • Don't limit yourself to the first draft of your pitch. Keep improving and rewriting ✍️ this speech until you're confident in your ability to condense who you are in that limited time.
  • Stay casual! When writing a pitch, keep your language the same as how you normally talk in order to preserve your authenticity and show your personality 💃 in your speaking.
  • Get feedback from the ones close to you. The best people to give an elevator pitch to for revision are the people who already know you. From friends and family, you can get a better idea if your pitch sounds natural and if the values you selected are the impressions they get from the speech 💬.

For more tips and example questions, check out this guide about college interviews or this one about student interviews.

Next, check out these guides about advice for college applications and choosing majors!

For a PDF version of this guide, click here!

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