The College Interview

The College Interview

Two of my Favorite students have upcoming College Admission Interviews this week.  The first is interviewing with MIT, the second with Georgetown University.  I find the article below helpful for general application advice.  In addition, I can not stress enough the importance of doing some research on the interviewer as well.  Study them before the interview and then show interest in their lives during the interview.  Make it "Personal."

On top of finalizing a college list, polishing up admissions essays and settling in to a solid senior year schedule, now is the time to prepare for college admission interviews. Interviews are only offered by a small percentage of colleges out there, those that are highly selective and, generally speaking, smaller. They range from purely informational interviews with enthusiastic local alumni to full-blown evaluative interviews with the admission representative who will be reading a student's application.

If your student is an outgoing, well-spoken and confident communicator, the interviewer, then the interview will work to his/her advantage.  

This is the best time for students to showcase their personalities and the energy they will bring to a college campus. However, if your student struggles with meeting new people, making small small talk, and sustaining eye contact with strangers, the interview might not be the best place for him to shine.


For students who do decide to move forward and schedule an interview, here are a few tips for success.

1) Write an interview-specific resume and hand it to the interviewer. This is often helpful in guiding the conversation and helps you to remember all of those awesome things you have accomplished.

2) Think of the top 3 stories or situations the interview HAS to know about you by the end of the conversation. Make sure you present these stories as a response to a question or at the end when they ask if there is anything else you'd like to share.

3) Do your research and tell them WHY you want to attend their college. This is the most important part and, sadly, it is often overlooked. One of the biggest reasons colleges offer interviews is to allow the student to highlight why they are interested in the college and why the culture is a good fit for their personality and interests. Help the interviewer envision you as a part of that college community.

4) Resist the temptation to overshare. Often, the person interviewing you will only be a few years older than you, whether they are a current senior or a recent graduate. Don't sell past the close.  Give your best and then allow for silence or more questions. 

5) Ask thoughtful questions. As with any interview, you should always prepare a few questions to ask at the end. Questions should be tailored to the college and are another opportunity to show you've done your research. You should also think of questions specific to that interviewer's experience attending the college.

After the interview is done, be sure to follow-up within a few days with a thank you note or email. And of course, be sure to submit all application materials on time to ensure that all of your time and preparation does not go to waste!