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Prepping for College Interviews

November 22nd, 2010

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A college interview can be a nerve-racking experience. It’s the one time during the admissions process when you’re put on the spot and expected to showcase your worthiness of admission in person. You’re grilled with questions from an admissions officer who’s taking notes — at least mentally — of everything you say, so it’s not something that should be taken lightly. On the other hand, it’s not something that should cause you to panic either. With a little preparation and self-confidence, you’ll make a lasting impression.

With the use of Google, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding potential interview questions with which to work. They vary from college to college, but typically don’t take a rocket scientist to answer. Questions regarding your future goals, greatest high school experience and current events are par for the course. Before the big day, participate in mock interviews, perhaps with your high school counselor, and practice your responses. Learn how to organize your thoughts on the fly and tell your stories in a manner that’s not completely boring.

Interview sessions last from a half-hour to an hour, so make sure your answers aren’t short and without substance. At the same time, if you go into the interview overthinking it, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It may sound corny and cliché, but it’s most important to be yourself. Be confident that your experiences have earned your right to be there, and don’t hesitate to discuss them in detail. Don’t pretend to be perfect because, as you and your admissions officer well-know, nobody is perfect. It’s an opportunity to make the application process human — show your personality, enthusiasm and interests, and it’ll become clear why you’d be an asset to the school.

Keep in mind that the interview is also a chance for you to ask questions in order to learn more about the school. Do your research beforehand and jot down two or three that you want addressed. It’s another way to make an impression on the admissions officer. A curious and engaging student is exactly what a college worth its salt will want.

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