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Preparing for a College Interview

Some colleges, especially the larger universities, no longer require an interview as part of the application process. If your child chooses to interview, and if the school allows it as an option, make sure he prepares. It is his opportunity to become known on an individual level, and the impression he makes could be the deciding factor in competitive admissions.


Call or check the college viewbook to find the school's policy on interviews. If the college is some distance from your home, be sure that your child calls early to schedule the interview so you can get an appointment at a convenient time. Advise your teen to practice for the interview. Do you have friends whose children are in college now? Perhaps they would be willing to do a mock interview with your child.

Some typical questions asked by admissions officers include the following:

  • What are your favorite subjects, and why?
  • What are your plans for the future?
  • Why do you want to attend this college?
  • What extracurricular activities do you enjoy?
  • Who do you admire the most, and why?
  • What are your strongest points?
  • What would you like to change about yourself?

Your teen should be prepared with answers that show why she is a good candidate for the incoming class. Reading the school's viewbook and any other information about the school will help her tailor her responses to that school. It's also a great idea to prepare a mini-resume of accomplishments, hobbies, and skills to give the interviewer.

Additionally, your child will look more prepared if she has specific questions to ask the admissions officer. Here are some possibilities:

  • How many students will be in the freshman class this year?
  • What activities are available for freshmen to meet other students?
  • How hard is it to get time on the college's computers?
  • What kind of orientation program does the college offer?
  • How can I find out about part-time job opportunities or internships on campus?
  • Is there anything else I can tell you about myself to help you make a fair and informed decision about my application?

The day arrives

Be sure your child is dressed neatly, as for a job interview (no jeans!) Have him arrive approximately 10 minutes early. Assure your child that it's all right to be nervous. If he has prepared, then confidence is likely to shine through the apprehensions.


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