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HINTS FOR COLLEGE INTERVIEWS 


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Although many colleges do not require a personal interview for admission, almost all colleges recommend one. The purpose of an interview is to give the college an opportunity to get to know you better, as well as to give you an opportunity to get to know the college better.

Interviews are usually held in the college's admissions office, either with the director of admissions or a member of the admissions staff. An interview will commonly take about a half hour. If your parents accompany you to the interview, they will be asked to wait for you in the reception area during your interview, and will be invited to join you and your interviewer afterwards to ask any questions they may have.

After an interview, many colleges will provide a student guide to give you a tour of the campus. This gives you an opportunity to get information about the college from a student's point of view.

Sometimes, interviews are conducted off campus, at a student's home or the home of a graduate who conducts interviews for his or her college.

Try to establish a schedule of when you will be able to visit the schools you want to see. It is best to visit colleges with your parents, so be sure to consult them about their availability.

During your senior year or in the spring of your junior year, contact the admissions office in advance of your visit to make an appointment for an interview. If you are visiting more than one school in the same general area, try to make your appointments back-to-back, if possible. It would be preferable to have your interview with an admissions officer as he or she will probably be one of the committee members reviewing your application.

  • Preparation
    An interview is one of the first steps at the beginning of a very important time of your life. Treat it as such. Prepare a personal resume which you can present to the interviewer. Your resume should be typed and clean. Make a separate copy for each interview. Read the campus catalog and literature so you are familiar beforehand with the basic facts. Carry a notebook in which you can note the questions you want to ask - prepare the questions in advance. At this stage in your selection, you want to know as much about the school as they want to know about you.

  • Questions You Might Ask
    Some of the questions you might want to ask are: Which departments are strong and why are they strong? If I am still undecided concerning my major, what help will I be able to get? How up-to-date is your instructional equipment? How would you evaluate my school record? Do your graduates find jobs? Would I be acceptable? Should I apply?

    Don't ask questions that are already answered in the school catalog.

  • Questions They Might Ask
    Listed here is a sampling of the questions you might be asked: What are your career plans? Why do you want to go to this college? How have you prepared for college? What have been the most important events in your life? How would people describe you? Why is a college education important to you?

  • Practice
    Armed with this partial listing of questions you might be asked, enlist the aid of your parents, friends, teachers or counselor in interviewing you. Have them ask you these questions and any they might come up with. Practice listening to each question, take time to think and answer each question completely without rambling. Don't forget the value of your mirror. Sit down in front of it and ask yourself the questions. Practice may not be perfect, but it does prepare you to be at ease when your interview takes place.

  • The Interview
    Be on time. Dress neatly and formally, as if you were interviewing for a job. This is your interview - leave parents and friends outside. Relax and be yourself.

  • During your interview, if the occasion arises, explain any drawbacks that may appear on your application. It is also an opportunity to point out any circumstances, such as an illness in the family, that kept you from making higher grades.

  • After the Interview
    When you return home, send a follow-up note to the person who interviewed you thanking them for their time. You may also include any additional information about yourself that you think they should be aware of - facts you were not able to cover during the interview or forgot to mention.
Also, remember to send thank you notes to anyone who assisted you in preparing for the interview, e.g., your counselor or your teachers.

Verbally thank your parents and all your friends who coached you. With their encouragement and your hard work, your interview should be a professional and informative experience.

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