Tips for Acing That College Interview

If you’ve been selected for a college interview, congratulations! That’s no easy feat, and it means you definitely have the program’s attention. You’re one step closer to the future you’ve been dreaming of, and although exciting, for many people this can be a nerve-wracking step in the college admissions process. Don’t let it ruffle your feathers.

The first thing to remember is that because you’ve made it in the room for the interview, you’ve already made it through one highly selective process. Why not continue to have faith that you’ll be exactly what they’re looking for? At the end of the day, you want to give such a strong interview that you know whatever their decision; you did your absolute best. Here are a few tips that will help you ace your college interview.

Dress for success.

This interview will be the first time that faculty and staff meet you in person, so you want to make sure you look professional, well-kept, and still show off a little bit of your personality in the room. It’s not a bad idea to get an outfit specifically for the interview. It’s a way to further mentally prepare and ensure that you look exactly how you want when the day arrives.

When searching for clothes, the first thing you can do to make yourself look great is by buying clothes that actually fit. If you’re a smaller woman, make sure you’re looking at petite dresses for women or petite pants suits if you’re more comfortable. If you consider yourself a larger man, check that your suit coat actually fits by making sure the seam of your shoulder is appropriately placed. You don’t need to hide your body under ill-fitting clothes. In fact, you look more confident and suave if your clothes are the correct size.

Even though you’re dressing up, you don’t need to entirely lose your personality. Your style and taste might be something you want to share with your interviewers. If that’s that case, find a way to maybe scale it back into a small accent, like a fun, colorful pocket square or piece of jewelry. Keep all of your great qualities and just polish them up.

Do a mock-interview.

Although it might seem silly at first since it’s not the “real deal,” it’s not a bad idea at all to practice before the big day. Ask someone you trust, like a mentor, to help you compile a list of questions and execute a mock interview with you. Someone trusted will be able to give you specific, constructive, and useful feedback. Ask them to prepare you for any and all hard questions that they might throw your way.

If you’ve made it to the interview process, most colleges will have done a background check for college admission. If you have anything on your record that’s less than ideal, ask your mentor to help you find a way to deal with any questions pertaining to this that might arise.

You don’t want to sound like a robot in your interview, so no need to memorize your answers. A mock interview will simply get you comfortable with speaking on specific topics and make you feel like your most confident, prepared self.

Talk to someone who’s been in your shoes.

If you know someone in the program that you’re interviewing for, set up a time to chat, so you can hear about his or her interview experience. You’ll be able to get a feel for what your interviewers are looking for and the questions they might ask. If you don’t know anyone, consider seeing if admissions would be willing to get you in contact with a current student. It never hurts to ask.

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