Rachel Goldstein asked:
There are two basic feelings that you might have when it comes time to do the college interviews which can make or break your application to the institution of your choice. On the one hand, you may feel that your true personality really shines through in person in a way that just doesn’t happen on paper, and so you may almost be looking forward to your college interviews as a way to secure your spot. On the other hand, the entire feeling of participating in a formal interview where you will inevitably be judged may be overwhelming and the feeling that best describes what comes over you when you think about your college interviews might be the feeling of fear.
Whether you’re approach to the college interview process is one of excitement or one of fear, it is important that you get a grasp on your emotions and pay attention to the task at hand. The college interview gives you the unique opportunity to present your best side as well as to ask some questions and really help you to confirm whether or not the college you think is your destiny is the right one for you. Although you are the one being interviewed, you should see this as a chance to get the inside scoop on the college you are thinking about attending.
The best way to go into your college interview is to prepare in advance. First of all, you should think about the key topics which you want to make sure that you cover in the interview in terms of presenting yourself in the best light possible. Make yourself a note card or document with these items in a bulleted list. When your interviewer questions you, you can appropriately glance at this information to help you prepare your responses. Additionally, if the interviewer does not touch on issues which you think highlight the reasons that you should be attending the institution, you can use the card to remind you to bring these points up yourself.
In addition to preparing your answers to anticipated questions, you should prepare a short list of questions which you want to know about the institution. This will help you in gaining the information that you need to help make your decision about the school once the school has made its decision about you. It will also leave a good impression with the person who is doing your interview because it demonstrates research skills, commitment to your education and a sense of organization.
Although you should take these steps to be prepared for your interview, you should also remember that you are not rehearsing a speech. Pay attention to what the interviewer is asking you and take a moment to mentally compose your response before leaping in. The interviewer will understand that you may be nervous or excited. As the conversation gets going, you should naturally feel more relaxed and your winning personality will shine through. The combination of being prepared with your answers but able to allow conversation to flow naturally should make the entire interview run smoothly.
Finally, you should remember that the college interview is only one part of the college admissions process. Yes, it is important and you should be prepared for it. You should get a good night’s rest before all interviews and do what you need to do to relax for the meeting. But you should also remember that if you are a good fit for a particular college and that college is a good fit for you, the entire package of your admissions process is probably going to lead you straight through the doors of the school.