5 Ways to Ace the Interview
The college interview offers you an opportunity to stand out beyond the application with the admissions officer. It allows the admissions officer to get to know the student beyond the personal and academic information on your application.
Remember, interviews are just as much for the student’s benefit. It is your chance to discuss your strengths and interests in that particular school, as well as gather any additional information you need to make the best choice.
It's also a great idea to interview alumni from your college(s) of choice, learning from their insight and first hand experiences at college.
Review the literature about the college before the interview.
At the very least, you want to appear knowledgeable about the school and keenly interested to learn more.
Be prepared for common questions.
Admissions officers might throw you a curve-ball to see how you'll react in the interview. Prepare and rehearse your answers to potential tricky questions:
- What was the worst decision you've ever made?
- How would your friends characterize you?
- What is your biggest regret about high school, and if you could change it, what impact would it have on you and in your future as a college student?
- If you were a world leader, what would you do to heal the violence and turbulence in the world?
- How do you see yourself 20 years from now?
- Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
- What are you reading right now?
Have your own questions ready.
Some students say that the hardest question you'll get from the interviewer is, in fact, "Do YOU have any questions?" Don't be caught off guard. Having your own questions makes you look prepared and interested. Write them down on a notepad, and take it to the interview. This College Fact Chart will also help you organize your findings and guide your decision.
Bring along your notepad, a copy of your school transcript, and portfolio of all your experiences.
The notepad should include your prepared interview questions with space for notes, which will demonstrate interest and help you remember details discussed. The transcript and your portfolio of activities will come in handy if you are given an information sheet to fill out prior to your meeting. You won't have to scramble to remember things. It'll all be right there!
Be yourself & remember your manners.
The key to getting admitted, and also being happy at college, is matchmaking. You want to bring your best, most authentic self so that the admissions officer interviewing you can decide if this is the right fit. Don't forget to thank the interviewer when you're done! Send a follow-up thank you email, mentioning some of the things you discussed in your notebook to help them remember you.
Get your free college planner and stay ahead of the curve.
You're a planner. We get it. Sign up to download our Kaplan College Planner, a month-by-month guide for your entire college journey!
Ready to get started?
Let our expert teachers be your guide with a prep course that fits your schedule. No matter what stage of prep you’re in, Kaplan can help raise your score.