Applying for college or university is stressful enough, without the added pressure of reviewing for exams and making sure you’re on track of coursework deadlines, which is why we have compiled a list of our dos and don’ts when it comes to preparing for your college interviews.
Tailor your interview research
While widely researching many universities and colleges during your application process is advised, when it comes to preparing for interviews, it is better to tailor your fact-finding mission. Tailoring your research will not only prepare you for the interview process, it will also give you better insight as to if a particular university is for you. Start by noting the classes you’re most interested in, and afterwards, record how specific elements of your prior experience or education tie into these subjects.
Moreover, be sure to make note of why you would like to study “X Course” at this particular university? The interview stage is about assessing your overall suitability both for the course you’re applying to and university.
Practice makes perfect
Alongside measuring your compatibility with the course and college, the interview stage looks at your communication skills. Shed the waffle with a concise script of what you plan to say, either in bullet points or as a complete text.
To avoid ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ when it comes to responding to questions, go over the type of questions most commonly asked at interviews for your course. Even if these questions aren’t exactly the same ones that come up, you can still quickly modify your answer in your head to execute a well-delivered, fast response.
The stress of seeing applicants come in and out, while in the waiting room might sky rocket your cortisol levels; however, it is essential you make yourself feel at ease. Just remember that the interviewer you’ll be seeing was once an applicant.
Got a job interview coming up? Look up your interviewer(s) on LinkedIn, do you know anyone or have anything in common? If they went to the same school/college/university as you or are connected to someone you know it’s a great way to establish rapport and get them on side. pic.twitter.com/AtKkLg8Y3V
— Steve Ackroyd (@SteveTheJobGuru) April 8, 2019
Also: try smiling while you speak. In a Ted Talk about body language, Ron Gutman highlights the benefits of smiling though citing the study by UC Berkeley and Wayne State University. Their study observed the width of smiles on yearbook photos and baseball cards featuring different MLB players. The results of the study concluded the wider the person’s smile had been, the longer and happier they had lived.
Don’t forget smiles are contagious, so shine a warm, beaming smile at your interviewer, and it’s likely that they will do the same, putting you both at ease.
#WCW Emelia Clarke
Stunning in red & her smile, gorgeous pic.twitter.com/kR3NVxP2rr
— 🎶☕ Stardust 🍷🎶 (@stardust1006) April 23, 2014
Do not be late
The difference between being late and early is the type of first impression you provide to your interviewer. If you feel travel may be an issue, pad your journey with plenty of time. Even consider booking a hotel close to the university or staying over at a nearby friend’s house if possible.
Don’t sell yourself short in interviews
Smiling is a good place to start when it comes to expressing confidence and appearing more confident. Nonetheless, smiling alone won’t get you into college. Learning to ‘sell yourself’ is crucial, and don’t draw attention to your negative attributes or undermine any of your achievements. Especially when facing the frequently asked questions such as, “What is your greatest weakness?” or “What is a skill you could improve upon?”
At first glance, these types of questions imply the interviewer is asking you to address something you lack, when in fact these questions give you an opportunity to turn the question on its head. The lack can be transformed into a quality or an attribute you hold too much of. For example, you could interpret being too obsessive over detail, as the result of your need and strive for perfection.
End your interview with a strong handshake and an appreciative thank you. Good luck!