How to Prepare for College Admission Interviews

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College admission interviews let students show off their best attributes and demonstrate they'll be a great addition to a school's undergraduate student body. This article describes ways to help your student prepare for an interview.

Admission Interviews: Stressful, Yet Nerve-Wracking


Many colleges, particularly private colleges and universities, require potential students to participate in an interview as part of the application process. It's understandable for students to feel nervous if they have little experience with interviews. The closest equivalent many have is being interviewed for a part-time or volunteer job, which is certainly a different animal than a college interview. Here are some tips to help your budding scholar overcome anxiety and approach the interview with an open mind.

Explaining the Purpose of the Interview

If your student feels nervous about this process, you may want to explain just how useful the interview can be. According to the College Board -- makers of the likewise much-dreaded SAT test -- this interview is one way a student can display his or her interest in a particular school. It also allows the student to reveal more about his or her character than can be shown through grades and test scores alone. Explaining the interview in these terms may help your student better understand the situation and feel more comfortable going into the actual interview.

Practicing Before the Interview

As with many other tasks, practice makes perfect...or at least much, much better. It's hard to anticipate exactly what the interviewer will ask, so if you volunteer to help your student by posing as a college interviewer, it's a good idea to cover a broad selection of questions. Although practice is encouraged and useful, you should make sure that your student's responses don't sound rehearsed or memorized. The interviewer is looking for a genuine interaction, not a canned Q & A session. Here are some sample queries for a mock interview:
Why do you want to attend this school?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are some of the things you've done to prepare for college?
Could you describe your best high school experience? Your biggest challenge?
What are your future plans?
What can you tell me about your interests?
How would you describe your family?
Do you have a favorite book? A favorite author?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Be Supportive

Remember this is a stressful moment in any student's life. Being supportive and encouraging can help your student sail through this intimidating part of the admission process - and claim that coveted spot in next year's freshman class.

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