College Planning Guide

Why and how to interview with admission staff

The college interview is your opportunity to show admission office staff that you're more than numbers and words on paper. So even if a college you're interested in doesn't require an interview, schedule one, then follow these tips:

Be on time. It shows people that you are responsible and that you value their time.

Dress appropriately. No need to wear a business suit, but do use your appearance to convey your serious attitude about succeeding.

Know before you go. Some admission interviews are friendly, get-to-know you discussions. Others serve as face-to-face evaluations that get factored into the application process. Think about how you might answer the following common questions:

  • Why do you want to come here?
  • What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author?
  • What kind of student are you?
  • What has been your greatest experience in high school?
  • Tell me about yourself. (Select just three things to talk about.)
  • Tell me about your interests.
  • Which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?
  • What are your plans for the future?

Answer thoughtfully. It's okay to pause before answering a question -- just not too long! Keep your answers brief, and mean what you say.

Ask questions. A good interview is not a one-way event. Ask questions when appropriate and elaborate on the interviewer's points when possible.

Say thank you. Leave a lasting impression by standing up, shaking hands, and thanking your interviewer. Ask for a business card -- it shows your interest in the college and gives you a personal contact to follow up with later on.

Send a follow-up note. A brief note expressing your thanks and interest keeps you in the committee member's mind.