If you’re applying to college, chances are you might be feeling overwhelmed about the entire college application process and incoming college interview questions. There are a lot of different factors to consider and materials to prepare for admission into the world of higher education.
In addition to submitting your application, transcript, and any supplementary materials, many colleges will also require that you pass an interview for admission. This is true whether you’re applying for early decision, early action, rolling, or regular admission.
Colleges use interviews as another way to evaluate you. Besides your personal statement, an interview is a prime opportunity for a college to get to know you as an individual. Some institutions may also offer optional interviews as part of their college admissions process, either at the college or conducted by alumni in your area.
As you prepare for this aspect of the college application process, it’s always a good idea to do some research. Walking into these interviews knowing which college interview questions you will face can make all of the difference.
If you’re well prepared, you will be more confident and you will add to the overall value of your application. It’s also all about the perspective you take. Think of these interviews as an opportunity to show what you have to offer.
College Interview Questions: Rehearse Your Answers to Showcase Your Skills
Every admissions office comes up with different interview questions so remember that there’s no guarantee you’ll get any of the college interview questions listed below. However, take this list as a sample of the most common questions you can expect to face during your college interviews.
Can You Tell Me a Bit About Yourself?
You should expect this kind of question in virtually any interview you do. While professional interviews may want to know more about your professional background, college interviews will want to know more about who you are as a teenager.
Think of this question as one that asks several more specific questions within it. For example: Where are you from? What are your favorite subjects in high school? What are you passionate about? What kinds of extracurricular activities are you involved in and excited about? What has your home life been like and how have you overcome adversity?
Breaking down a very general question that asks about you like this will make it easier to answer. You can answer it in categories, starting with your background, then your academic interests and passions, and then move on from there.
Why Do You Want to Go to This College or University?
This may seem like a pretty simple question but it’s actually extremely important. It’s highly likely you will also be asked this question on the written portion of the application, possibly as a supplement to the common application.
If you’re going out of your way to apply to a specific college or university, you should know why you are interested in attending it. It’s important to be specific and not answer with a general cliche or a superficial answer about the beauty of the campus or the excitement of the location. Your answer about attending the college should be based on academics and on how the college can help you reach your own academic and professional goals.
Ultimately, you should be able to answer this question clearly and concisely, while giving enough detail to show that you’ve done your research. You might be particularly excited to have access to certain lab or performance spaces, for example. You could even mention academic concentrations or fellowship opportunities that you’re excited to pursue.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
This is another classic general interview question. Remember that ultimately, you are still applying to college. College students face many challenges and obstacles, from adjusting in their freshman year to overcoming their sophomore slump and persisting all the way through to graduation. This question is meant to assess your understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and your ability to highlight your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
If your strengths are in academics, make sure to highlight them. If you have done any significant community service or have been a leader in your community, highlight the strengths that have helped you carry out that work.
When discussing your weaknesses, it’s okay to bring up academic weaknesses. We can’t all be good at everything and chances are your transcript isn’t perfect. This could be a good place to highlight the ways that you work with your academic weaknesses to improve.
What Are You Reading Right Now?
Some colleges will ask you this kind of question to get a sense for how engaged you are in the world around you. Though some students are not necessarily extracurricular readers, others definitely are and some colleges will want to seek them out. That said, you can answer this question by referencing a book you’re reading for one of your classes in high school.
If you are reading a book just for fun, this question is a great opportunity for the admissions counselor to get to know you better. Understanding what an applicant chooses to read during their free time is a huge window into what makes them tick.
Be honest with your answer to this question. If you try to impress the admissions counselor by telling them that you’re reading a Russian classic or a Greek classical text, for example, it might feel forced. You want to be yourself and come through as genuine.
How Will You Contribute to Our College Community?
College campuses are like little towns or communities. Depending on the size of the college, your presence can really make an impact on the college community.
An interviewer who asks this question is really asking about your motivations and ideas for how you can contribute to the campus. This could be by being a leader on your sports team, starting a new club, or becoming a writer in the creative writing community. Think about this as another opportunity to highlight your strengths
Conclusion: Prepare for Your College Interview Questions to Be Confident
Now that you have reviewed some common college interview questions, reflect and prepare. It might even be a good idea to practice with a family member.
However, don’t spend too much time rehearsing your answers. Treat these interviews as a conversation and an opportunity to give the college even more reasons to admit you.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.