By Evan Bailyn
Does the thought of a college interview make you nervous? Don't forget that you aren't the only one seeking information. You are also interviewing the interviewer. This is your chance to get to know the college.
Not every college requires a one-on-one interview. You may be able to learn just about everything about the college on a tour. Often you can request an interview by contacting the admissions department. When you set it up, discuss possible locations. Sometimes it may be possible to meet with a representative of the college closer to your home. Colleges often have representatives conduct interviews in their area. They may be college staff, administrators, teachers or alumni that live in your area. If you do need to interview out-of-state you will need to make your own travel arrangements.
Preparing for the Interview
This is your chance to show more of yourself than just what's on paper. Show them who you really are. Since the interview will also allow you to get to know the college, do your research ahead of time. Write down your questions. They can be about degree programs, sports, campus life, or anything that you feel is important to you. If you have a lot of questions, it will show that you are serious about your education.
During the interview, you'll answer many questions about yourself, your family, and your high school. Make sure you are prepared. Share your opinions on current events, relationships with family and teachers, hobbies, even your favorite book. If you did not have the chance to participate in many extracurricular activities due to work or family responsibilities, let them know. This shows real-life responsibility. If you had trouble in a certain subject, instead of mentioning your dislike, talk about it as a challenge that you are willing to overcome. Don't make excuses or apologize. Be proud of yourself for who you are. Having confidence and high self-esteem will show the colleges your maturity.
Keep the following interview rules in mind
- Be punctual. You should show up before your scheduled time.
- Be neat. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Dress for Success." Be you, but a more presentable you.
- Be prepared. Write your questions down and have them with you. You may be nervous and this will help you to focus and not forget anything.
- Be aware of your language. Don't use slang or curse.
- Be yourself. They want to see the real you. Don't try to exaggerate or lie.
- Be relaxed. Smile. Remember-it is not you against them. They are simply looking for the right fit for their school.
- Be professional - Get the name and address of the interviewer at the end of the interview so you can send a thank you letter. Make sure you spell his or her name correctly.
After the Interview It is good to write a short thank you note to the interviewer. It can help your prospects. Now that it's over don't dwell on every word you said in the interview. Move on to the next step in the application process.
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