Admissions interviews count as part of your application decision. Informational interviews give you the chance to ask questions and learn more about the school. Find out why it’s a good idea to interview. Know the types of interviews and what to expect, and get tips to help you do your best.
Why should I interview?
Interviews are usually optional, and not all colleges will offer them. But if you have the chance, it’s a good idea to take it. Why?
- It’s a learning opportunity. An interview is a great chance for you to ask questions and learn more about the college. Interviews also help colleges get a better picture of you.
- It shows your interest. Taking the time and making the effort to interview shows the school you’re invested.
- It’s a chance to explain gaps. This is a good time to talk about any issues in your record, like a drop in grades.
- You can share your goals. Tell the interviewer about your education and career goals and why you feel this college is right for you.
Types of Interviews
Know the difference between admissions interviews and informational interviews.
Admissions interviews count toward your acceptance decision. There are different types of interviews that may be run by different college representatives:
- Admissions counselor interview: This is the most common type of interview. It’s run by an admissions counselor. You can call or go online to schedule an appointment.
- Alumni interview: This type of interview is run by an alum from the college. It’s set up by the college and usually happens off-campus. Your interviewer will complete an evaluation, which will be part of your admissions file.
- Audition: Different from a traditional sit-down interview. If you’re applying to an arts, music, or dance program, you may be asked to give a performance audition.
- Special-interest interview: You might meet with an athletic coach, department head, or club supervisor.
Informational interviews may or may not count toward your application. They’re designed to answer your questions and give you an overview of the college. You might have the chance to participate in a few different types of informational interviews:
- Informational session: This is a formally organized group session for students and families. It’s usually run by an admissions representative.
- High school visit: College reps may visit your high school to hand out materials and answer questions. This is a good chance to make a personal connection with a school you’re interested in.
- Student interview: This is an informal conversation with a current student at the college you’re considering. Student interviews are a great way to learn more about the college from a student’s perspective.
What to Expect
If you have an admissions interview, you’ll talk one-on-one with the interviewer. If your parent comes with you, they probably won’t be in the room during the interview. They may get a chance to talk to the interviewer afterward, though.
Your interviewer may ask questions like “Why do you want to go college?” and “Why do you want to attend this college?” They may also ask about your high school experiences, hobbies, and achievements.
The interviewer will also ask if you have any questions. Make sure you have some good questions ready. Be careful to avoid questions that you can easily answer from the college’s website. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you’re interested in the college. And it can give you information you can’t find on a website or in a brochure. Check out Big Future’s Tips to Answer College Interview Questions for more questions and answer strategies.
Tips for Success
Interviews can be nerve-wracking! Take a deep breath, and read these tips. The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel.
- Do your research. Make sure you’re up to speed on the school and the programs you’re interested in.
- Be ready for questions. Practice your answers for common questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “Why do you want to attend this school?”
- Show your interest. Be attentive, ask questions, and show enthusiasm. Your interviewer wants to feel your excitement about their school!
- Dress to impress. Put your best foot forward, even if it’s a virtual interview! Dress neatly and make sure your hygiene is on point (no bedhead or lettuce in your teeth, please!).
- Take it seriously. Any contact with anyone from a school is important.