What Are the Dos and Don’ts of a College Admissions Interview?

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Admissions

Home » Admissions » What Are the Dos and Don’ts of a College Admissions Interview?

As part of the application process, many universities and colleges require applicants to take part in an admissions interview. A college admissions interview allows you to learn about the university, and for the university to learn about you.

If you’ve been invited for an admissions interview, you have to put your best foot forward. While being invited for this interview doesn’t guarantee admittance, it can help you snag a spot in your university of choice. These interviews are documented and added to your application packet as extra information.

Remember, an admissions interview is more of a dialogue—there are no right or wrong answers. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind to create a great first impression. Let’s explore the dos and don’ts of a university admissions interview:

The Do’s of an Admissions Interview

Do Familiarize Yourself with Common Questions

Anticipating the types of questions you’re likely to be asked is one of the best ways to prepare for a college admissions interview. The questions will be geared towards finding out who you are and how well you fit into the university. Some of the most common questions include:

  1. Why do you want to enroll at our college?
  2. What are you interested in studying?
  3. Why are you interested in majoring in (specific subject)?
  4. Given the chance, what would you do differently in high school?
  5. What makes you unique as a candidate?
  6. What do you like to do for fun?
  7. How do you define success?
  8. What is your greatest strength/ weakness?
  9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  10. How will you contribute to our campus?

Do Ask the Right Questions

Request information that is relevant to you and that you cannot find elsewhere. It is OK to conduct preliminary research on the interviewer and design questions such that the interviewer has something to say. But keep your attention on yourself.

Do Dress and Act the Part

Don’t dress too casually or in overly formal attire. The best way to dress for an admissions interview is smart casual. Be conversational and friendly in your approach, but not casual.

It shows good manners and respect to respond promptly to the interviewer’s emails, texts, or phone calls. After the interview, send the interviewer a “Thank You” note to appreciate their time.

The Don’ts of An Admissions Interview

Don’t Pretend to Be Someone Else

To impress, some students may feel the need to embellish their accomplishments—don’t do it. It’s best to remain yourself and expound on why you’re a great fit for the university.

Don’t Fixate on the Prestige

You’re excited to get an admissions interview to a prestigious school; but don’t fixate on the brand—it may come off as if you’re only interested in the name.

Don’t Re-state Your Application

Instead of repeating your application, use the interview to augment it. Due to word constraints on your application, you may not have been able to explain certain topics during the admissions interview. Use the interview to round up your application profile.

There’s also no need to bring along your application and re-state your test scores, transcripts, and personal essays. Institutions usually don’t share your application with the interviewer—to avoid bias.

Don’t Ask Overly Simplistic or Disingenuous Questions

Don’t ask for information you can find with a quick Google search. Doing so will only waste yours and the interviewer’s time. In addition, don’t ask disingenuous questions just to get the interviewer to talk about themselves or their college experience; it won’t work in your favor.

Don’t Bring Your Parents

The interview is all about you. Your parents are not needed for this process. If your parents do attend, ask them to wait in the waiting area or somewhere nearby. 

Don’t Ignore the Interview Invitation

Even if you decide to decline the interview invitation, respond promptly and courteously.


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