How to Survive a College Admissions Interview

Applying to a college or university can be stressful enough, but what do you do if the school wants to interview you as part of the application process?  To most students, the prospect of a college admissions interview sounds pretty nerve-wracking, especially since you probably haven’t done many interviews before.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you get through a college admissions interview.

DO answer the questions honestly, and be yourself.  College admissions interviewers can spot fakeness easily, so it’s pointless to try to answer the way you think they want you to answer.

DO be polite.  Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Be respectful.

    DO project confidence with your introduction.  Be sure to use your first and last name. “Hi, I’m Marissa Jackson,” sounds more professional and confident than, “Hey, I’m Marissa.” Shake the interviewer’s hand and make eye contact.

    DO research the school ahead of time. Read their website and other promotional materials, and read some reviews of the school from other sources. By familiarizing yourself with the school, it will be easier to answer the interviewer’s question.

    DO have a good answer to the question, “Why are you a good fit for our school?”  Your answer should be based on research you’ve done of the school, and it should be honest.

    DO ask questions, and especially questions that demonstrate that you’ve done some research about the school. This will show the interviewer that you’re really interested, and that you’re responsible enough to take the time to do some research. In addition, there’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity to speak with a school representative, and ask any questions that you need to know to make your decision on where to go to college.

    DO dress appropriately.  Business casual is fine for an interview: a nice shirt, professional looking pants or a skirt, spiffy shoes.  Guys, wear a tie.  Girls, avoid cutesy accessories and cleavage.

    DO send a thank you note afterwards.

    DO chat with your guidance counselor ahead of time for some interview tips.

    DON’T ever be late for an interview.

    DON’T worry if you’re a little nervous.  Yes, you want to project a reasonable amount of confidence.  However, the interviewer is perfectly aware that high school students get nervous at these interviews, and will not be put off or surprised if you’re a little jittery.

    DON’T leave your cell phone turned on.

    DON’T chew gum, but do freshen your breath prior to the meeting.








    3 Responses to “How to Survive a College Admissions Interview”

    1. Admissions Counseling says:

      The first “Do” on the list may be the most important thing to remember both for an interview and in the application process in general. Colleges want to see a coherent, sincere picture of a potential student. Learn your strengths and determine what makes you unique, then be proud to be that person and keep your image consistent and sincere.

    2. College Mom says:

      Adult students have a lot to think aboutthan traditional college-aged students. They have the demands of jobs to contend with as well as the stresses of trying to find financial aid that will allow them to go to university.


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