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Tips for your child’s college admission interview

Tips for college admission interviews
Tips for college admission interviewsPhoto by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you are the parent of a high school senior, then this year is all about getting ready for college. Part of the college experience is getting through the college admissions interview and these tips can help. The admissions interview is part of the process for most colleges, particularly four year institutions. Depending on the college, you could face either an informational interview or an evaluation interview. It pays to be prepared for both.

An informational interview is really more for the student’s benefit as its main purpose is to provide information to the student. It is assumed that the student will have looked over all the printed information, brochures and any website information prior to the admissions interview. Interviewers are looking for questions not covered in any of these places. It gives them an indication that you are seriously interested and that you took the time to prepare for the meeting. Sometimes these meetings are done with groups of students to save time. They can be conducted by a faculty member or someone from the college’s admissions office. In some cases, the interview will also be partially an evaluation and the facilitator may be passing along his opinions to the admissions office so do not take this process lightly.

Some colleges interview students for their compatibility with the college, its policies and philosophies. These interviews are meant to put the student on the spot and measure his response under pressure. The questions will be of a more personal nature as well as related to academics, community service and expectations of the school. The interviewer will take notes and his recommendation will weigh heavily with the admissions office. You should be well prepared, make a good impression and give carefully thought out answers.

The interview is not an optional item. Even if you think you might not choose this college, you should still take the interview. One reason is to hone your interview skills for the college you really want to attend. Another reason is you might need to fall back to this college because your first choice fell through. You never can tell – you might actually like the school more than you had anticipated.

  • Do not arrive late.
  • Do not arrive with friends or family members in tow.
  • Be courteous to everyone you meet. You don’t know whose input will be included in the report.
  • Act natural and be confident.
  • Be yourself. If you pretend to be something you are not, you may find down the road you are not a good fit for this school. It’s better to find out now.
  • Keep your answers conversational. Rehearsed or memorized answers don’t come off well.
  • Tell the truth no matter how difficult it is.
  • Appearance is important. Leaves the sneakers, jeans and t-shirts at home.
  • A clean, well-groomed appearance is appropriate.
  • Do not bring food or drink into the meeting.
  • Demonstrating your interest in the school and its offerings can boost your standings.

Not all schools require admissions interview, but if your does, put theses interview tips to work to make your college admission interview more successful.