College admission processes are intensive. After the SATs and applications, you may finally make it past all the red tape to meet the admissions team. The college interview can be a challenging round. No matter how well prepared you are, you will need to think on your feet and not get thrown off balance. Unlike the application essay, you can’t go back and edit your responses.
To ace the interview, you can practice before you attend the interviews. This will help you get your thoughts in order in your own space. By practicing answering interview questions with a friend or family, you will feel more comfortable articulating your thoughts clearly and confidently. Though you can jot down a few points and use them as cue, a conversational style is what you should be aiming for, not scripted.
Here’s a round-up of common college interview questions that will help you get started. Some questions are related to you, to understand who you are as a person. Some are generic, to see how well you think. Others are specific to the college, and are an attempt to assess how well you will fit in. Reading up on the college and staying updated on current events will earn you bonus points. You will also be better prepared to ask a few questions about the college and your chosen fields of study at the end of the interview that usually winds down with – Do you have any questions?
College, High School and Academics
- Why do you want to attend our college?
- What can you contribute to our college community?
- What are your academic interests?
- If you could do one thing in high school differently, what would it be?
- Where else are you applying and why?
- What do you want to do after graduating from college?
- What would you like to know about our college?
- Why do you want to major in <chosen subject>?
- If you had high school to do over again, what might you have done differently?
- What is the most important thing you’ve learned in high school?
- What are your academic strengths and weaknesses?
- What courses did you enjoy the most?
Personality and Perspectives
- Tell us about yourself.
- Tell us about your family.
- What three adjectives best describe you?
- How would your friends describe you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What activities do you find most rewarding?
- What do you do for fun?
- What is your favorite book?
- How have you been a leader or displayed leadership?
- Who is a role model for you?
- If you had a thousand dollars to give away, what would you do with it?
- What extracurricular activities have you found most satisfying?
- What are a few challenges that you have faced and how did you overcome them?
- What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
- What events have been crucial in your life?
- What is your greatest passion?
- How do you define success?
- What has been your proudest achievement so far?
- What’s your opinion on a <current event>?
Remember, the interview is an opportunity for the college to get to know you and for you to learn more about the college. This is your chance to decide if the college is a good fit for you and your academic goals. By understanding that this is an exploratory conversation, you can relax, be yourself, and have a meaningful interaction.