Acing Your College Interview

So, you’re applying to college. You know what you’re looking for in an institution: how many students, your ideal housing, what you are interested in studying, etc. You’ve narrowed down your giant list of schools into a slightly smaller, more manageable list. You’ve started filling out all of the applications and answering the tedious questions. Now you’re on to one of the final pieces of the college application process: the interview. The pressure that is put on the interviews by high school guidance counselors is immense. They say that it can make or break your admittance to that specific institution. This isn’t necessarily true to every school, so take a deep breath. Breathe in… now breathe out. If you decide to go through the interview process, you will be okay, I promise. Yes, they may seem scary, but they’re not. Just think of this interview as a conversation with the admissions representative. You both are trying to learn more about each other. Deciding if the institution is right for you is important; regardless of how much you may love the program, there are other aspects of the college- where you will be spending the next four years- to consider. If you’re still nervous about the college interview process, take a look at these five steps that will hopefully make you feel more prepared.

  • Be yourself.
    Don’t try to answer questions based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Be candid (yet appropriate) when they ask you a question. They want to know the real you, not who you think they want to know.
  • Come with Questions
    Nine times out of ten, the last question the interviewer is going to ask is whether or not you have any questions. So come with questions about student life, residential life, or academics; anything to show that you are interested in the school. Your interest and passion for the school will not go unnoticed, especially when it comes time to make the decision on whether or not you are accepted.
  • Clean Up a Little
    No, I don’t mean actually clean up with Lysol and Windex. I mean this in a dress to impress way. I don’t mean that you should go out and suit up for this interview, but don’t show up in your pajamas. Show your interviewer that you’re serious about potentially coming to their institution.
  • Stay in Touch
    A few days after your interview you’ll more than likely receive an email from your interviewer expressing their gratitude for you coming into admissions to talk with them about the institution and what it has to offer. Take this time to thank them too, and be sure to send them an email from time to time either with questions, concerns, or just to check in. By staying in contact with your interviewer you are showing them, again, that are you interested in the institution.
  • Breathe
    This is the most important you need to do! Relax, breathe, and remember that although it may seem stressful, these interviews are more for you than it is for the interviewer. They are a way for you to learn more about the school and figure out if you really truly want to go there. Just remember that your interviewer was probably in your shoes once and they want to make the process as beneficial for you as they can. So try not to get stressed out by the idea behind an interview. It’ll be okay.

By keeping these five steps in mind, you are well on your way to acing your college interview. This process is something that most high school seniors need or choose to go through with, and it’s normal to be nervous. Just remember to breathe, be yourself, and if you’re still super nervous, tell your interviewer and even they will remind you that it’s perfectly normal. Some schools, like Champlain, do non-evaluative interviews; these are informal interviews where you can share your passion for the school and learn more about the institution as well, without the added stress of the interview making or breaking your acceptance decision. If you’d like to register for an interview at Champlain, you can find more information here.

Happy college hunting & good luck on your future interviews!

Rachel Hatem is a senior Business Administration major with a minor in Event Management.

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