Why you Should Interview
The college interview, which usually lasts about half an hour, is a chance for both parties (you and the college representative) to get acquainted with each other. While typically not mandatory, there are several reasons you should schedule an interview:
- See the campus
- See the surrounding community
- Raise any questions you have about the university or the application
- Clarify points on your application or transcript
- Learn more about study abroad, clubs or other campus activities
- Put a face to your paperwork
The college interview is a perfect time for you to go over the previously mentioned issues because you have a school official's undivided attention. If you setup the interview before you turn in your application, you can get a better idea whether or not you wish to attend that particular institution. Remember your interviewer probably won't have information about you so be sure to do two things:
- Ask the scheduler what materials you need to bring
- Remember to bring the needed materials
If you set up the interview after you turn in your application, still ask the scheduler if you should bring anything else. At the very least, you should bring some paper and a pencil.
What the Interview Involves
According to those at collegeboard.com, the staff learns about you from transcripts, test scores and application. Your essay and recommendation letters can offer some impression of the type of person you are, but words on paper aren't always the best way to present yourself. The interview gives you a chance to present yourself in the most favorable light by talking positively about yourself and showing your personality. Your meeting could be enough to convince your interviewer to support your acceptance if you are a borderline student.
What to Wear
As they say in the business world, 'Dress to Impress.' A businessman or businesswoman tries to dress better than he or she thinks the clients would dress, and this is how you should try to handle your interview. In terms of type of attire, think about the college interview as a job interview and dress professional. For girls, it is appropriate to wear a long skirt with a button-down or colored shirt or slacks with a similar shirt along with a pair of closed-toe heels. For boys, it is recommended to wear slacks with a button-down shirt and tie or a suit.
What to Ask
Basically, any tasteful question is welcome. The professionals at collegeboard.com say that asking questions shows that you are interested in the college and what the admission officer may have to say. You should always try to have a question in mind about the college or about your major so as to show that you are genuinely interested in attending the school. Even general questions can yield helpful hints from the interviewer. For example, you may ask something as simple as, 'Do you have any advice for me?'
Hopefully, this information can help you better prepare for an interview with an admissions official. In general, remember to stay calm and try to breath. It's just a conversation with another person.