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College Interview Preparation: How to Ace Yours

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College interviews are often an optional portion of the application process, but many prospective students take advantage of the opportunity. Not only does an in-person interview show admission representatives that you are sincerely interested in attending their school, it lets them see that you are much more than just a name on a page!

Whether you are aiming for the Ivy League or want to attend the state university in your own hometown, a college interview is the perfect time to let your personality shine through. Consider the following Do’s and Don’ts as you prepare for your college interview!

College Interview Do’s

  • Do arrive early.
  • Do have questions of your own, especially if the interviewer asks “What questions do you have for me?” This is the perfect opportunity to learn things about a school where you have the potential to spend the next four years!
  • Do dress conservatively. You will look professional and and give a good first impression.
  • Do be polite, make eye contact during the interview, and sit up straight without slouching!
  • Do address your interviewer by name and say thank you. Be sure to send a follow-up thank you card or email.

College Interview Don’ts

  • Don’t be late. It will disrupt your interviewer’s schedule and make you look irresponsible.
  • Don’t bring your parents with you. A college interview is supposed to let a representative learn more about you, not your parents. Bringing Mom and Dad into the interview room may also make you seem too immature for college. It’s acceptable to introduce them before the interview or once it’s over, but let them sit in the waiting area during the big event.
  • Don’t ask questions that you could easily find the answers to yourself. Instead, ask questions that show you have done a bit of homework and expresses your interest, such as “I’m interested in engineering and biology. Could you tell me about your dual major program?”
  • Don’t use one-word answers. Explain things!
  • Don’t lie or try to embellish your accomplishments. Pretending to be someone you’re not will usually backfire.
  • Don’t be rude or insulting toward your interviewer or the school in general.

Common College Interview Questions

Think you’re ready? Ask your parents or a friend to run through a mock interview with some of the common college interview questions listed below:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to attend this college/university?
  • What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?
  • What is your favorite subject?
  • What do you want to major in?
  • What do you want to do in the future?
  • Tell me about your extracurricular activities.
  • Who is your biggest role model?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • What books have you read lately?

A college interview is a great way for admissions representatives to determine if you are a good candidate for their school. Not quite sure if you’d really like to go there? Consider these 9 Worst Reasons to Pick a College!


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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