university admissions interview

Interview for

University Admissions



face (2) counselor absolutely
alumni structure application
faculty process admission
formal based on scholarship
vary context committee
oddball prepare familiarize
excited work into throw off (2)
get to grow up no matter
brief primary weakness
inspire stuff (2) opportunity
career potential related (2)
sell (2) point (3) passionate
option personal internship
compel highlight brainstorm
specific turn into take precedent
good fit informal sets them apart
goal (2) research mission statement
detail campus significant
involve strength community
tricky overview illustrate (2)
peer field (2) leadership
reduce acronym make sure
nerves force (2) impression (2)
list mock (2) beforehand
blank dreaded constantly
affect mention mnemonic
outline fascinate take advantage





Hi. I’m Kristen Keating. I’m an educational counselor.

Today we are going to be talking about the college admissions interview and the six questions that we think you absolutely must be prepared for.

Many students are going to face at least one interview as part of the application process.

This may be an interview with an alumni, with a scholarship committee, with an admissions officer, maybe even a faculty member in the department you’re applying into.

Now while the styles and structure of these interviews may vary based on the context and the interviewer, no matter how formal or informal your interview is, these are the six questions that we think you should always be prepared for.

Even though you may get an oddball question or two such as “what is your superpower?” these questions and preparing for them will give you talking points that you can work into the conversation, even if you aren’t directly asked them.

1. The first question is “Tell me about yourself.”

This is the classic question to throw off the unprepared.

So be prepared for it.

You can talk about where you grew up, where you currently live. You can talk a little bit about your family, your primary academic and personal interest.

Basically, just give a very brief, but positive overview of how you got to the place where you are at today.

2. The second question is “What are your academic interests?”

You are applying to school after all, so you should be prepared to talk about the stuff, the subject you’ve planning on studying.

You can talk about what fascinates you. You can talk about the classes, the teachers that inspired you. You can talk about summer programs, internships, work experiences related to this field.

You might want to talk about books or individuals in the field that have inspired you.

Basically the point is to sound really passionate about what you want to study. You want to sell them on the fact that you are really excited to go to school for this.

3. The third question to be prepared for is “What are your goals after college?”

Even if you’re not certain what you want to do career-wise, you should be prepared to give a potential career option or two that is connected to your academic field of study.

You can also brainstorm some personal goals that you might want to talk about in the interview such as traveling, writing a book, learning a language.

Remember that in the college admissions interview, academics and career goals should always be highlighted and take precedent.

4. The fourth question is “Why are you interested in our specific school or program?”

Make sure that you do your research on the school. Read their mission statement. Familiarize yourself with how they set themselves apart from the competition, and be prepared to explain why you’re a good fit for their school, both academically and socially.

5. The fifth question is “What are your significant activities outside the classroom?”

Colleges want to know that you’re going to be involved on their campus and in their communities.

So have a list of at least three to four interests that you can talk about in detail.

6. The final question is “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

Prepare a list of at least three strengths and at least one weakness. And make sure you have examples of how you illustrated these strengths in your activities in your life.

For example if you select leadership as one of your strengths, be prepared to talk about how you illustrated this as captain of your tennis team or as a peer tutor.

And make sure that when you’re talking about your weaknesses, which can be a little tricky to talk about, make sure that you have a compelling case already prepares so that you can talk about how you’re constantly working to improve that weakness, so that you can turn that weakness into a positive without sounding like you’re forcing it.

Remember that good preparation reduces your nerves, helps you relax, makes positive impression on the interviewer. So make sure you make outlines and lists beforehand of things you can talk about to help avoid drawing that dreaded blank in an interview.

You can use mnemonic devices to help improve your memory, during that moment when your nerves are really affecting you, so for example if you have four things that you want to mention about the golf team, maybe using the acronym “fore”: F. O. R. E. will help you remember those things that you want to talk about.

And take advantage of opportunities to do interview practice and mock interviews with a college counselor, and good luck.

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1. All student applicants must have an interview with only the admissions officer. True or false?

2. Will all six interview questions always be asked, or do they form the basis of the interview structure?

3. For the question, “Tell me about yourself,” should you give a few short sentences, a brief introduction or a long autobiography?

4. If they ask, “What are your academic interests?” you should only say that you are interested in computer software engineering. That is enough. Is this right or wrong? Should you sound very enthusiastic and fascinated about this subject?

5. When asked, “What are your goals after college?” should a student say they don’t know, they are undecided or I’ll think about it later?

6. “Why are you interested in our specific school or program?” You must do your homework and learn as everything you can about the university, department, faculty, program, research area, professors. The more the better. Yes or no?

7. Are university officials only concerned about and academics, classroom and laboratory activities?

8. Regarding a student’s strengths, should you just mention characters or give concrete examples as well?

9. For weaknesses, only mention them and stop. Is this correct or incorrect?

10. What is the best way to do well on a university admissions interview?


A. Have you had an interview before? What was it for?

B. How did it feel? Did you enjoy it?

C. What questions did they ask?

D. What were the outcomes?

E. Do all interviews follow the same basic format?

F. What will happen in the future?

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