Make Sure the Impression You Make is a Good One
The college interview probably isn’t the most important part of your application, but it can help you if you make a good impression. A bad impression can hurt your chances of getting accepted.
During the interview, DO NOT…
1. Be Late
Your interviewers are busy people. Alumni interviewers are probably taking time out of their full-time jobs to meet with you, and campus admissions folks often have back-to-back appointments scheduled. Lateness disrupts schedules and shows irresponsibility on your part.
DO– Plan on arriving a full 30 minutes early to avoid problems.
Business casual is your safest bet, but the main thing is to look neat and put-together. You’ll look like you don’t care if you show up wearing ripped jeans or saran wrap.
DO– Girls should wear a modest blouse, skirt or dress to the knee, or nice slacks (not jeans o any kind) with pumps, or flat shoes. Open toe sandals are not appropriate. Limit your jewelry and do not wear bracelets that can clang together. Less make-up is more in this situation. Nail polish should be neat – if it is peeling off, remove before the interview. Boys should wear a button-down shirt and tie with neat slacks and shined shoes. Fingernails should be cut and there should not be any dirt under them.
3. Talk Too Little
Your interviewer wants to get to know you. If you answer every question with a “yes,” “no,” or a grunt, you’re not impressing anyone, and you’re not demonstrating that you can contribute to the intellectual life of the campus.
DO– Let your personality shine through but don’t over-speak or ramble on.
4. Make a Prepared Speech
You want to sound like yourself during your interview. If you have prepared answers to questions, you might come off sounding artificial and insincere.
DO– Create a sampling of questions at home so you are prepared should that question be asked. Practicing your answers at home can avoid sounding artificial and insincere.
5. Chew Gum
It’s distracting and annoying.
DO – Drink some water prior to the interview. It will help stop “dry mouth” and hoarseness.
6. Bring Your Parents
Your interviewer wants to get to know you, not your parents. Also, it’s hard to look like you’re mature enough for college if Dad is asking all the questions for you.
DO– Have your parents bring you but wait outside during the interview.
7. Show Disinterest
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised what some students will say. A comment like “you’re my back-up school” or “I’m here because my parents told me to apply” is an easy way to lose points during the interview.
DO– Show genuine interest in the school. Remember, the interviewer is either an alumnus or works for the school.
8. Fail to Research the College
If you ask questions that could easily be answered by the college’s website, you’ll send the message that you don’t care enough about the school to do a little research.
DO– Ask questions that show you know the place: “I’m interested in your Honors Program; could you tell me more about it?”
Come prepared with several thoughtful questions so when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” you have several at your fingertips.
This should be obvious, but some students do get themselves in trouble by fabricating half truths or exaggerating during the interview.
DO– Tell the truth, no matter what the question.
10. Be Rude
Good manners go a long way.
DO– Shake hands. Address your interviewer by name – Mr.______, Mrs._____, Ms._______ unless told to use his/her first name. Look him/her in the eye when answering a question. Say “thank you.” Introduce your parents if they are in the waiting area. Say “thank you” again. Send a hand writtenthank you note if you can procure a home or business address. If you cannot get an address, emaila thank you note as soon as you get home. It is perfectly okay to do both.
If you have any questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!
Andi Frimmer, M.Ed.
Prep 4 College Now, Inc.