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5 steps that help you ace college interviews

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

Overwhelming YouTube videos, mysterious interview questions, and various kinds of college interviewers, can indeed drown you with tons of scattered information. By helping hundreds of students with their interview preparations, we now see a preparation method that can help most of you be confident about your interview.


1. Search for common interview questions during college interviews


It is good to know the common type of interview questions to get yourself a head start on preparations. By knowing common questions, you can expect what most college interviews will look like. A good place to search for these questions are Quora and school websites (some schools will provide potential interview questions like UPenn). We recommend you list out all the potential questions you found online and categorize them based on what they are asking.


Here are a few examples for self introduction:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What is something that does not show on your application?

  • What are some of your identities?


Here are a few examples that look for a deeper understanding of a student:

  • How would your friends describe you?

  • What is your biggest accomplishment/failure?

  • What do you do when you have no assignment?





2. Search for miscellaneous questions


We believe you might know some "weird" cases when students got unprepared questions. Usually, these questions require some out-of-the-box thinking. If you are scared of ruining an interview, we recommend searching for miscellaneous questions online to set an expectation for yourself. A good place for that is Quora and Reddit.


An example of this type of question is

  • Why do you apply to UPenn? (asked by a Cornell interviewer)

  • If you have 1 million dollars, what would you do?


Remember, don't spend too much time thinking when you are asked a "weird" questions during the interview! Always talk, don't take too long to think!





3. Outline a response for each question you listed


Before the interview, it is important that we have prepared contents to say about ourselves. We recommend students to outline some personal qualities or identities that they want to talk about for each question. (A hint: think about something that you didn't put on your application profiles).


It is sufficient for students to prepare a list of bullet points for each listed question. A full script is optional, but remember, be flexible about your script. You don't want to read off the script during the actual interview.


An example of preparing a response will be:

  • What do you do when you have no assignments for a day?

  • Preparations: take marketing class, practice vocal, reading.

  • During the actual interview:


“It's like a perfect day for me. I would definitely take marketing classes to study social media marketing and audience targeting for my small business. Now, I am learning how to create brand awareness for small businesses using social media. Besides that, I also practice my vocal to strengthen my mixed voice, so that I can expand my range. If I have enough time, I would do some reading. Right now, I am reading a book called Thinking Strategically, which teaches me how to negotiate.”


Challenge yourself with different kinds of interview questions. Once you practice enough, you will find it easy to answer unexpected questions. This is because you have a good understanding about your talents, skills, and personal qualities after examining yourself with various questions. (It's like filling out a long survey).





4. Practice your response using a mirror —— improve your confidence


This step is to help you be more comfortable with your response. By getting more and more familiar with your script, you will be less nervous during the actual interview. Using a mirror to practice can boost your confidence when speaking about yourself. If you feel you need further help with that, our College Interview Practice service can give insightful suggestions for improvement.





5. Relax, bring out yourself, and be confident!


Now you are fully prepared for an actual college interview. A good night's sleep will help keep you energetic and confident for the day. Remember to bring out yourself during the interview. The college interviewer will definitely see your uniqueness.





Good Luck on Your Future Interview!


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