Updated: Mar 31, 2021
When students are preparing for college interviews, tons of Youtube videos and online tips can seem overwhelming. With the experiences of our student counselor and admission experts, we summarize a few tips that are essential to know before an official college interview.
1. Get to know the background of the interviewer
Searching for the interviewer's background information will help know more about him/her. One side, it will help relieve your stress a little bit. On the other hand, you can see whether you shared the same interest or experience as the interviewer. A good place to get to know the interviewer is through Linkedin. You can see his/her work experience and college degree through the site. Getting to know the background before the actual interview will help you relax and be confident facing the interviewer.
2. Don't bring up the background of the interviewer unless he does it himself
This tip may seem "weird". But actually, some schools prohibit students from having personal connections or talking about the interviewer's past experience during the interview. Stanford University has this type of rule.
If the interviewer brings up his past experience himself, then feel free to talk about it. As the interview goes deeper, there are plenty of interviewers who are willing to share their experiences with you. You can chat with him/her like two new friends and get to know each other a bit more.
3. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of the college interview, the interviewer will let you ask questions regarding the university. It is important to prepare a couple of questions beforehand to show that you are interested in the university and you wish to learn more. Studyflee recommends you prepare about 2 -3 questions regarding class schedules, club activities, student lives, etc.
4. Find a time when it's good for both
If you live in different time zones, feel free to open up about your schedule. College interviewers respect your time as a high school senior. It is totally acceptable to take time and schedule a win-win meeting period.
Remember, choose a time period when you feel comfortable and energetic. If you feel tired and unmotivated during the interview, it will be difficult to answer some of the in-depth questions about your personality. Pro tips - practice and get enough rest before the college interview!
5. Practice using a mirror
As you practice your response to common interview questions, use a mirror to see what you look like. A mirror will guide you to adjust your facial expressions, tone, and confidence without noticing. As you evaluate your performance in the mirror, be sure to check your talking speed and how well you deliver your response. By the time you practice enough, you will be surprised how relaxed and confident you feel in front of the interviewer.
6. Don't read off the script
It's good that you prepare a response using a script, but remember to be flexible. One good reason for that is the interviewer can clearly tell whether you are reciting your script or not. Reciting can leave a bad impression and will not show your distinctive personal qualities. We recommend students write down important activities and qualities as bullet points. By practicing, students can easily connect those points into a well-rounded response.
7. Chat and relax!
Don't get nervous. Interviewers are also people. They have been through the same admission process as you. If you feel nervous about your first interview, we recommend students read funny, positive interview stories that happen to other people.
During the Penn interview, one of our students talked about her passion for parrots. And the interviewer literally brought his grey parrot to join the rest of the interview session.
See that? Don't get nervous! Chat, relax, and enjoy a good discussion with the alumni of your dream school.
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