How do you prepare for a college interview?
During an early college visit with Pete’s cousin, the two boys were hanging out in Washington University in St. Louis‘s Business School when the Graduate Dean walked up, chatted, and offered them the chance to talk with an Undergraduate Dean. They were woefully unprepared (had just been speculating about playing wiffle ball in the building as a matter of fact), yet they sat down and enjoyed talking with a very charismatic fellow who responded well to their interests and provided loads of information about the school. (They did not mention the wiffle ball conversation.)
They left the building thinking about business as a major. I left the building thinking Pete needs to be better prepared next time! (Also, how cool was that of both Deans?!)
Since then, he’s talked, but not interviewed, with admissions counselors, interviewed with a current college student and, now, is preparing for an alumni interview. Preparing, as in, hanging out at Wild Wings with his friends because there’s no school tomorrow and a couple of buddies are back home from college.
In case anyone wants to prepare for college interviews, there are lots of resources available…
1. The Plan for College blog offers College Interviews: 10 Most Common Questions
6) What are your strengths/weaknesses? You’ve probably been asked this in some form before and you might know how hard it can be to answer. One tip – do not try to turn your biggest weakness into a back-door strength. That’ll come off as phony.7) If you could change one thing from high school, what would it be? Your answer should show some turning (or learning) point for you. Demonstrate how you can reflect and adapt based on the decisions you made when you were younger.
Question: The interview is optional. Why bother?
Answer: Your getting into their school/job/scholarship is optional too.. If you want them, make every effort and that includes the effort of preparation for an interview in this highly competitive environment. By doing the interview, at a minimum you show just how enthusiastic you are and in the best case, you make a phenomenal impression on someone at the school, job or scholarship. If you connect with the right person, they can really become your advocate.
3. US News & World Report provides 9 Tips for Mastering Alumni Interviews.
4. Remember the basics: Esposito is the chair of Georgetown’s Alumni Admissions Program and has conducted alumni interviews with more than 150 prospective students since he graduated in 1978. He quickly rattles off a few obvious but important tips: Arrive on time; thank the interviewer when you leave; and be professional.
5. Be yourself: While preparing for an interview is important, memorizing word-for-word answers will not show the interviewer who you really are. As many alumni emphasize, the interview is a conversation, so it should not be scripted.
Sounds easy, right? Having a conversation. Just not quite as easy as talking with friends over wings…
- College Admissions Secrets. (drstrangecollege.wordpress.com)
- 17 College Interview Questions from William & Mary (drstrangecollege.wordpress.com)