How to Stand Out in College Interviews

Wiener Douyon, CollegeFindMe Intern

College interviews

Whether you’ve done a million interviews before or this is your first time, college interviews can feel especially stressful. A lot of colleges don’t do a great job explaining what will happen in an interview, and how it might help (or hurt) your application. That said, interviews can be a great way to learn more about a school, and to show off how excited you are to go there! Even if it’s intimidating, these interviews are just another opportunity to put your best foot forward.

What’s the point?

To put it simply, it depends on the college. College interviews play different roles depending on where you’re applying to. While some schools consider them a mandatory part of the application process, others may make them optional. Some colleges may not even offer interviews at all.

However, if given the chance to interview, you should seize the opportunity! It is informative: the admissions officer learns about you, and you learn more about the college. So let’s make you a pro!

How to prepare

There are many ways to prepare for a college interview. However, researching prior to an interview is a great way to start. The more you know, the easier it is to show off your excitement, especially about aspects of the school that set it apart from the crowd.

  • If the school has a specific extracurricular activity, course, major, or housing option that is really exciting to you and rare at other colleges, bring it up! 
  • If you have questions, ask them! A lot of schools ask alumni to do their interviews, which means the person on the other side of the table has been in your shoes. This is your chance to get the personal perspective of someone who’s already been where you want to go!

Some interviewers might also ask you some questions that can be pretty tough to answer if you’re unprepared. Here are some things to consider:

  • What would you change about your community?
  • How have your individual experiences shaped who you are today? These can include experiences of loss, pride, or joy. Reflect and look at what led you to this day.
  • Reflect on your academic interests, hobbies, and methods of stress-relief. 

And, most importantly, be ready to talk about something other than your test scores, classes, and extra-curriculars. Remember: you’ve already sent in your transcripts, your score reports, and your essays. This is your chance to show off a side of you that colleges might not know. Talk about who you are, what you love, and why you like this school!

Final note

As someone who has lead interviews for college admissions, I can say that every student has a boat-load of qualities that make them amazing. All you have to do is figure out how to…

  • Talk about personal stories
  • Portray the best part of yourself
  • Stand out to colleges by showing off the parts of yourself that they don’t already know

Even if it means practicing in the mirror, you can find the confidence to show off and shine. Take a deep breath and get ready to glow!