As you have submitted the majority (if not all) of your college applications, you will soon be entering the interview phase of the college admission season. Although not all colleges and universities conduct interviews, you might find that some offer interviews that are held by admissions officers or alumni. Depending on the colleges and programs you have applied to, you might receive an email asking you if you would be interested in an optional interview with the college. As I tell my students repeatedly, when it comes to college admissions, nothing is optional! Therefore, if you get that interview email, your first task is to respond right away and let the college know how much you are interested in the opportunity. This is just the first item on your – what I call – action item list. Although the interview will not be the only factor that will make or break the deal, I would highly recommend doing your best to get ready. Here’s how!
- Ask the interviewer via email before the date of the interview if you can send your resume to him/her. Do not just email it before asking him/her as some of them do not want to be presented with a resume, whereas others love it! Just ask the preference in advance.
- Research the school. Reread your “Why College/Major” essay before the day of the interview and remember what you wrote in that essay to stick to your reasoning.
- Understand why you are a good fit for the school and be prepared to talk about it.
- Prepare (lots!) for the interview. Find sample interview questions online and practice with a family member, a good friend, one of your teachers, or your college counselor until you become really good at this. You can find some practice interview questions prepared by College Board’s Big Future here!
- On the day of the interview, dress professionally but with your own sense of style. Think business casual! If you need some ideas, this article should guide you in the right direction. Especially in a time of countless Zoom calls, make sure your hair looks neat and you look exactly like you would during an in-person interview. (The subtext of this text: No PJs or sweats with unkempt hair!)
- Be yourself. Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Just act naturally but in a well-composed manner, and the rest will fall into place.
- Be confident. Believe in yourself. You have submitted your college applications! You have come this far! See the interview as one last opportunity not only to introduce your true self to the college but also to learn about the college in more depth. Relax!
- Prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer so that you will appear to be really interested in attending this college.
- At the end of the interview, remember to say, “Thank you for your time!”
- Follow up with a brief thank you email. Make sure to reference something specific about your conversation to make it more memorable for the interviewer.
This year’s college interviews will certainly look a lot more different than what would be the norm, but we are here to help you every step of the way. Here at EdMission Possible, we offer mock interviews to prepare our students for the big day. With the detailed feedback we provide after each interview, our students know their strengths and focus on the aspects that could be further improved. Call or email us today to get started.
Good luck with your interviews!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Independent Educational Consultant, Founder, and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She has completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for over 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Voting Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.