Take interviews seriously whether they are on campus interviews or alumni interviews. It is important to come across as interested and engaged in both the learning process and the college you are visiting. Be prepared to talk about yourself including your classes, your activities and summer plans. What have been your favorite classes, teachers, assignments? What extracurricular activities are most important to you and why? What do you want to try in college? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Relate your interests and questions back to the college you are visiting. “I am interested in Russian Studies and I saw you have a study abroad program. I’d love to go abroad.” It is very important that you prepare and are familiar with the offerings of the school.
Check out your interview style. Do you appear poised, confident, articulate? Work at containing any nervous habits and try to keep your thoughts focused on what you are saying. If you are shy, reticent, or a non-native speaker, we strongly encourage you to do some practice interviews before going to your interviews. You will naturally become more comfortable with the interview format once you have done a couple and know what to expect.
Keep the conversation focused on strengths. While it may be important for an admission officer to have a sense of family transition or teacher conflicts, the overriding tone of the conversation should be upbeat, geared toward the last two years in school, and show a fit with an institution. Be sure to intersperse the genuine challenges with the success stories of your life.
Prepare for your interview by reading about the institution and formulating some questions that are not easily answered by looking in the catalogue. If you don’t think you will remember these questions, do not hesitate to write them down and take them into the interview with you.
Arrive promptly, dressed in a manner which you feel represents your best foot forward. You don’t need to wear a suit or a dress but you also shouldn’t wear those jeans that have multiple holes in them. Conduct yourself in a friendly, inquisitive, and interested manner. Phonies are easy to spot, but the person with no enthusiasm or questions can be equally as unimpressive.
Look your interviewer in the eye during your conversation. Speak clearly and respond in a straightforward manner, or ask for more time to think over a question. Don’t crack knuckles, chew gum or fiddle with hair (interviewers cite gum as an awful accompaniment).