Top Admission Interview Tips
“What should I do to prepare for an admissions interview?” If you’ve found yourself asking this question, our guide on Admission Interview Tips will teach you everything you need to know about preparing for a school interview.
An admission interview allows the evaluators of the institution where you want to study to assess your personality and capabilities, and ultimately decide if you are a good fit for the program for which you previously applied.
How do I prepare for an admissions interview? What questions do they ask in an admissions interview? What happens in an admissions interview? Are all the right questions prospective admissions candidates ask.
Given how popular this process is in determining whether you will be accepted or rejected by the school, Scholarshipint has taken the time to discuss general interview preparation tips, questions and answers.
And, of course, successful interview techniques to use on the day of your evaluation in this article.
For all of this article, we will take an in-depth look at admission interviews, and as you read on, you will discover certain hacks that you can add to your pre-existing knowledge and apply when the time comes.
What Are the Different Types of Admission Interviews?
An admission interview, also known as a college interview, is a brief one-on-one meeting between an institute’s admissions officer and a student applying for admission. It is one of the methods used by schools to evaluate applicants, along with transcripts, test scores, and personal statements.
1. Evaluative Admission Interview
An evaluative admission interview is the most formal interview you will encounter during your application process and is usually more about you impressing the school with your capabilities and what you generally bring to the table. This type of interview is conducted by admissions officers or highly skilled current students
2. Informational or Non-Evaluative Admission Interview
Informational or non-evaluative admission interview is offered as a way for the you to get to know the college, and at the same time provides the opportunity for you to share additional information about yourself which was not mentioned in your application.
3. Alumni Admission Interview
An alumni admission interview is offered by selective colleges to their graduates after they submit their application.
Importance Of An Admission Interview
While some schools may not invite applicants to one, admission interviews are an important part of your application process. And more than it is a way for you to be evaluated, it is similarly a great conversation starter between you and a school’s representative.
This section importance of an admission interview covers some key questions asked by college evaluators to candidates to determine things like your personality, interest in the school and course of study, how you intend to interact with other students and the community at school as well.
1. Questions To Determine Your Fit For The School
To determine your fit for a school, the evaluator could ask certain questions like:
- Why do you want to attend our school?
- What would you contribute to the campus?
The admissions officer asks these questions because they want to know if you’re really interested in their college, why you showed interest, and similarly what you would contribute to the improving the campus as a student.
How to answer questions about your fit for a school:
- Mention the things you’ve found out about the school and why you felt it the right institute for you to learn.
Note: This answer can only work if you did your research on the school and noted key points before attending the interview.
- List the extracurricular activities you’ve participate in like sports, volunteering, owning a business, or working in a field related to your course of study and the achievements you’ve accomplished in any of those areas that show your character, and how you intend to apply what you know to improving the school or program you applied for.
2. Questions To Assess Your Personality
To assess your personality, an evaluator will ask these two questions to you:
- What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
When an admissions officer asks these questions, it is because they want to understand how you perceive yourself and if you can give an accurate description as to what kind of person you are.
How to answer questions about your personality
- Say what your 3 adjectives are and give examples of how they describe you.
- Give an instance where you used your strength to accomplish something.
- Discuss how you overcame or are working to overcome your weakness.
3. Questions About Your Extracurricular Activities, Interests And Goals
Dedication to schoolwork is good, and so are good grades. However, during an admission interview, the evaluator is likely to steer away from that and would ask questions about which extracurricular activities you’ve gotten into, other interests you have, and goals.
Questions to expect on this include:
- Which activities do you find rewarding?
- What book is your favourite?
- What are your plans after graduation?
When an evaluator asks these questions, it’s because they want to know you better and get an idea of what is important to you.
How to answer questions about extracurricular activities, interests, and goals
- Think about the activities you are engaged in and why you find them rewarding.
- Your favourite book, say why it is your favourite.
- Talk about your chosen major and why you are interested in it.
- State your future goals and how you think college can help you meet them.
4. Questions About Life And Happenings In The World
The admissions officer after gauging your fit for the college, assessing your likes and personality, likewise could ask you questions about life situations and happenings in the world. When they ask this it’s because they want to know if you are informed, curious, and a critical thinker.
These are the questions to expect:
- If you had a hundred dollars, how would you spend it?
- What’s your take on the recent COVID-19 outbreak and what would you do differently if you were a world leader?
- If you could change one thing about our institution, what would it be?
How to answer questions about life and happenings in the world
- Share the opinions you have on certain happenings in the world and explain why you’ve taken this stance.
- Describe your life values and how you apply it.
How To Prepare For An Admission Interview
Admission Interviews are a way for you to back up your college application by showing off to the evaluator or evaluators that you have a unique personality that will positively impact the school, the academic prowess to boost the ratings of your course of study and can interact efficiently with your colleagues and professors.
As a candidate, if you do want to prove to your dream university that you are a worthy candidate for admission then you should really work on passing yours.
Many students often tend to prepare poorly for their interview; however, every serious candidate knows that preparing for an admission requires a lot of dedication and enthusiasm. You would want to be good enough to convince the interviewers that out of the other candidates, you are the one they should take a chance on.
So, if you have been invited to an admission interview by a university and are now wondering how to prepare, this section covers admission interview preparation tips to assist you.
1. Find Out The Interview Type
Finding out the interview type you are being invited to, is one of the important admission interview tips students shouldn’t overlook. As we discussed earlier, there are 3 types of admission interviews evaluative, informational / non-evaluative, and alumni and knowing which one you are sitting for helps you prepare.
An evaluative interview is usually set up for the admissions officer to assess your capabilities and then decide if they should offer you a place in the school or not.
On the other hand, an informational interview provides an opportunity for you to get to know more about the school, while the admissions officer also asks questions to know more about you. In an informational admission interview, the officer wants to impress you as much as you want to make a good impression on them because they want you to choose their school.
Note that admission interviews may also be both evaluative and informational.
2. Do Your Research On The School
Conducting thorough research on the school before your interview, should be top on your list of your interview tips for students. This is important because you should be able to explain to the admissions officer why you are applying to the school, and why their institution to you is the best one in the world to study your chosen course. Also go in with examples to back up this fact.
3. Learn Facts About Your Subject
Knowing key facts about your subjects like its relevance in society, job opportunities in the field, current news, trends, research, and developments, is an admission interview advice that should not be overlooked.
Knowing these things helps you clearly and confidently tell the interviewer why you are interested in your course of study, your motivations for choosing them, and answer follow up questions that may come with these facts.
4. Revise The Course Information
One of the admission interview techniques you should use to prepare is for you to revise the course information.
This entails doing a second reading of the university’s prospectus or official website to gain information on the course structure, entry requirements, optional modules, and any additional guidelines students need to follow.
Then, during your interview, you can use the information you’ve gotten to ask the interviewer any questions that weren’t covered in the published course information.
5. Revise Your Personal Statement
Your Personal Statement must have been good if it was enough to get you an admission interview, so for your next interview tips for students you are advised to revise it.
This is because the admissions officer is likely to ask you further questions about things you mentioned in the statement like hobbies, personal projects, volunteer opportunities you’ve taken, achievements, or prominent motivations to study a course.
When this happens, you will need to give the exact answers you gave in the statement so that it corroborates with the information you gave them the first time and it also gives you a second chance to impress them in person, with the version of you they met on paper.
6. Gather Unique Qualities About Yourself
Remember that although the admissions officer took the time to sit with you, there are other applicants vying for admission into their school which they will also interview before picking a hand full of students, so you must ensure that you will be among the selected ones.
One of the good interview tips to apply is to write down all the unique qualities you have, personality and academic wise which can portray you as both a strong contender for admission and a candidate with impressive skills.
This technique comes in handy when the admissions officer asks you to tell them about yourself, and you can answer by telling them something notable you’ve done before which could either convey your passion for the subject, future aspirations in your discipline, your academic resilience, or even your personality in general.
Practising before your actual admission interview is one of the best interview tips as it helps you get a feel of what the actual event will feel like and work out any nerves you were having about sitting across from an interviewer.
To practice, you can get a friend, colleague, or even a family member to do a mock interview with you. This could include a run-down of the most asked admission interview questions and their appropriate answers.
Additionally, while you speak to them you could also look out for any mistakes you are making in terms of how you speak or the answers you give and try to correct them. Ask for feedback as well from your mock interviewer and use what they point out to correct yourself.
8. Set Common Admission Interview Questions And Answer Them
The final step in your preparation should be you sourcing for some common admission interview questions and answers to them. This is important because it gives you a quick insight as to what you can expect to be asked by the admissions officer.
Common admission interview questions to look out for and practice include “tell me about yourself”, “why do you want to study abroad?” (this is for if you are studying in another country).
While answering the questions you set for yourself, answer in a way that you sound enthusiastic about studying the subject you’ve chosen and the school you are going to as well. Ensure that the answers you give will sound convincing enough to the admissions officer.
Admission Interview Tips
The Admission Interview Tips part of this guide covers several procedures for a successful interview which aspiring school candidates like you should know about whether you are attending the interview in-person or online.
So, if you’ve asked, “How do I ace a school admission interview?”, we have promptly listed out the actionable tips which should be easy for you to follow.
The tips mentioned here sample everything from etiquettes, dressing, what to say and topics to lean towards during the discussion, as well as other measures to take.
Preparation is one of the admission interview skills you should master if you want your meeting to go well. Simple things you can do to prepare is to write out any inquiries you have for the interviewer, responses you will give for questions asked to you, and to review the things you wrote in your college application.
If you are attending the interview in person, gather all the materials you will be needing for the evaluation, get the right directions to the venue and find out the fastest ways to get there on time.
On the other hand, if you are attending online, you can prepare by accessing a strong internet connection ready, finding a stable device preferably a laptop or computer, and selecting a room in your apartment that has perfect lighting and is far removed from distractions.
2. Be Punctual
Although punctuality is a requirement usually expected from candidates attending in person, it is still part of the recommended admission video interview tips for applicants joining online.
As such if you are an online candidate, log onto the meeting link at least 5 minutes before the interview starts so that you do not miss the interviewer’s call.
Offline candidates should arrive the meeting venue 10-15 minutes early, to get enough time to settle in before the interview commences.
3. Dress Appropriately And Present Yourself Well
Dressing well is among the good interview techniques to apply for your admission interview. When attending, dress appropriately by wearing something that is smart, comfortable, and formal enough for the occasion.
In terms of presenting yourself well, you can either do this by firmly shaking the interviewer’s hands, avoiding slang or curse words while speaking, and smiling when it is called for.
Smiling is one way to portray good body language during an interview. And while this might be difficult given the situation and tension that comes with it, try to remember that the admissions interview is merely a formality and the school inviting you for one means that your application impressed them, and they are considering admitting you into their institution.
So, there is no need for you to be too tense or too stiff in your response to the admissions officer, try to smile as this can ease you up and show the officer that you are excited for the opportunity to study at their institute.
5. Be You
While the advice to be yourself might sound cliché, it is still one of the most useful virtual interview tips you can get as doing so gives you the chance to introduce the interviewer to that version of you they loved on paper, and to also decide for themselves what you would be adding to the campus’ community should you be admitted.
Ways you can be yourself include showing yourself in a different light as professional, mature, and poised, and dressing good in what makes you feel confident and comfortable too.
6. Be Enthusiastic
During your admission interview, your energy should radiate enthusiasm and positivity. It should also show the admissions officer that you are indeed stoked about studying at their college and is elated for the chance to speak one on one with a representative.
7. Expect Questions
An admissions interview isn’t just a way for the school to get to know you better, it is also an avenue for them to assess your capabilities through questioning and ultimately decide if you would make a perfect candidate for the program you want to study or not.
On that note, expecting to be asked some common questions like why you want to study a course and what you intend to add to the college, by the admissions officer and preparing answers for them beforehand is one of the best interview tips to keep close to your heart.
8. Ask Questions
The questioning sessions in an admission interview goes both ways which means you too can ask questions to the interviewer to gain any information you require about the institution. Making the right enquiries to learn what you really want to know is among the interview skills and techniques successful candidates usually possess.
9. Avoid Mentioning Your Test Scores
Yes, your test scores and GPA are impressive, but you should refrain from mentioning them during the admission interview because one the evaluator already knows, and two you are there to show them the person behind the scores and results not to repeat information.
10. Forget About The Clock
While admission interviews typically have some time allocated to each one, it is still okay for yours to run longer than usual or shorter than expected. Time almost always doesn’t have anything to do with your performance.
This is because interviews follow a schedule with hundreds of candidates to be evaluated and as such have no room for lengthy discussions. Additionally, most evaluators are school alumni who have other jobs to do so if you do find the evaluator checking their watch then they are likely on a tight schedule.
11. Express Gratitude
After a successful interview, do well to express gratitude to the admissions officer for taking the time to listen to you and being gracious enough to invite to the session. You can also take this time to reaffirm that you are indeed convinced that their school is the best place for you to study and talk about how honoured you will be to get admitted.
12. Do A Follow Up
To follow up, you can send your evaluator or the institute’s admissions team a thank-you note or email. The content can include helpful tips you got from the session or highlight of moments you connected with an officer over common experiences or shared interests.
If none of those applied to you, then the note or email can simply be about you, expressing continued interest in the institute and thanking the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you.
How To Answer Common Admission Interview Questions?
An admission interview as we pointed out earlier, consists of several inquiries made by a college evaluator to determine your fit for the college, interests in your chosen discipline, and generally your personality.
And if you’ve ever wondered what is asked in an admission interview, this section discusses the common admission interview questions and how to answer them correctly.
1. Tell Me About Yourself?
Admissions officers ask “tell me about yourself” because they would like to know more about you, beyond the information your provided during your college application. They want to know who’s behind the personal statement and transcripts.
How to answer:
- Portray yourself as special and different from all the other applicants.
- Don’t use cliches or generic descriptions. If you say that you are hardworking or resilient, prove it by giving instances where you’ve displayed these traits to back it up.
- Talk about your passions, interests, and hobbies.
- Remark your friendships, inspirations, motivations, and future goals as well.
2. What Made You Choose This University?
The question “what made you choose the university?” is asked to test your knowledge of the school and what spurred you into deciding to study there.
How to answer:
When answering this question, do not mention cliché things like the campus having a beautiful scenario or the course seeming like a good choice. Similarly refrain from discussing the nightlife or entertainment scene of the city you will be schooling in. Instead…
- Think about the things you liked about the school in the first place and why you felt it would be the perfect match for you.
- Talk about the approach of the department to your subject of study and any facilities or resources they have available for students to enhance their learning experience.
3. Why Do You Want To Study This Course?
Why do you want to study this course? Is asked during an admission interview by college evaluators because they want to know if you are genuinely interested in your chosen course of study, or you just applied because someone else suggested it to you.
How to answer
- Clarify why you felt a connection to the course. Is it something you’ve always wanted to study at a young age? Or perhaps you studied it at an undergraduate level and loved it so much you want to do it as a postgraduate degree.
- Express how the subject fits into your career goals and how studying it would make you a better professional in the future.
4. If You Could, What Would You Change About Your High School?
Interviewers ask this question to determine your problem-solving ability and understand what you would describe as your ideal school. If they can understand what you could change, then they will know what’s important to you.
How to answer:
- You can focus on the department you were part of and resources you could have allocated to them to improve learning if you had the means.
- Think of a common problem other student at your school always complained of and come up with solutions you felt would have worked.
5. How Would You Improve This School?
Evaluators ask this question, because they are looking for candidates who will impact positively to the school and their department of study. They need people who will make the school better in their own way and you must prove that you can take initiative.
How to answer:
- Highlight any specific research you would like to pursue and how the school can benefit from it.
- Do you wish to form a club or take up a leadership position in an extracurricular activity?
- You can mention community service projects you intend to do as a student at the school.
- You could talk about positive activities you were a part of in high school and how you wish to recreate the same when you are accepted.
6. Why Do You Want To Go To University?
While this may sound like a silly question to ask, keep in mind that the officer wants to know this because they want to understand your motivations for pursuing higher education and how doing so will make you a better person.
How to answer:
- State the clear educational or career goals you want to accomplish by attending university.
- Lay emphasis on how college will aid you in pursuing and attaining your passions.
- List the college’s activities that will raise your awareness about your field of study and enable your intellectual growth.
7. What Are Your Strengths Academically?
Colleges ask this question during an admission interview, to get your opinion on where you excel academically.
How to answer:
- Before you answer, ensure you know your academic strengths well.
- Discuss those strengths and how you have used them to your advantage during studies.
- Say how you recognised those traits as a strength, how you are using them presently and how you intend to use them in the future.
8. What Are Your Weaknesses Academically?
Guaranteed, colleges prefer strong applicants, but they also understand that every strong person also has a weakness. So, if they ask this question its because they want to know that you are persistent and determined enough to excel despite your weaknesses.
How to answer:
- Demonstrate your ability to confront and overcome challenges boldly by illuminating the strategies and approaches you’ve applied to overcome your academic weakness.
- If you are taking an online or part-time course for it or doing some exercises mention those as well.
- You could also tell a certain story on how you managed to pass a subject that you found difficult.
- Do not make the mistake of saying that you do not have a weakness as that is arrogant and unbelievable.
9. What Challenges Have You Faced And How Did You Overcome?
College evaluators ask this, because they want to know about the major challenges in your life and how you prevailed. They want to see your persistence in overcoming obstacles.
How to answer:
- Think back to a time you had a problem and explain the efforts you put in to solve it.
- Talk about obstacles you encountered at home, school, or life in general and give instances on how you emerged triumphant.
- Don’t forget to share the lessons you learned from the challenge and how it might have changed you.
10. Who Is Your Role Model?
An enquiry about your role model gives the admission officers a sense of what your values and priorities are, and what shapes your thought processes and behaviour.
How to answer:
- Pick as a role model, someone who is a well-respected figure in your field of study whose work you’ve followed closely and are greatly inspired by.
- If you do pick someone like a parent, teacher, or person not related to your discipline, ensure that you also mention what specific things they’ve done that you admired so much.
11. What Makes You Unique?
“What Makes You Unique?” comes as question to understand that rare substance you possess as a person, what excepts you from other people, what internal forces drive you, and more importantly what it is you have that no other applicants do.
How to answer:
- You can mention an unusual trait or multiple traits you have and give examples or stories that show those abilities. Are you quick at solving maths, have a photographic memory? Share that.
- You can similarly discuss uncommon interests you have or goals.
- Mention your unique background if you have any. Maybe you are related to a significant historical figure.
12. Which Of Your Achievements Makes You Proud
Unless this question isn’t specific to academics or studies, then you can talk about other general goals you’ve accomplished in your life and how they made a positive impact in your life.
How to answer:
- Talk about a prize or award you won for a competition.
- Mention a new business or project you successfully launched.
- A test you passed with flying colours or coursework can also be mentioned.
- For non-academic achievements, you can list playing an instrument or winning a sports competition, etc.
13. What Do You Do For Fun?
This question is asked to get a better understanding of your leisure interests and personality. Note that this question doesn’t have to be centred only around academic activities so answer honestly what you enjoy doing in your spare time.
How to answer:
- List the activities you enjoy and describe why you find them fun and relaxing.
- Talk about any new hobbies or habits you’ve recently picked up like gardening or painting and why you find it rewarding.
- Even if your hobby is watching movies explain why you enjoy doing that and which movies you’ve seen and how they influenced you.
14. How Would Your Friends Define You?
This is another question about your personality and how you’ve interacted with and possibly influenced the people around you.
How to answer:
- Avoid throwing out words like “caring”, “good listener” or “reliable” without backing them up with examples of when you’ve done these things for your friends.
- Say meaningful things like you being determined, great at collaboration, and always ready to tackle challenges.
- Answer honestly and speak to your strengths.
15. What Is Your Best Book?
Questions about what books you enjoyed best are still related to colleges learning more about your interests. Likewise, they want to know if you are an avid reader and have a taste for information. This is a type of question that could spark a conversation between you and the interviewer maybe even a connection.
How to answer:
- Don’t just mention the name of the book or the author, but say why you like it, how it inspired you, which of the characters or chapters resonated with you, what you learned from it, and how it influenced your behaviour or thoughts.
- Mention why you connected to book and why you find it relatable.
16. Where Do You See Yourself In The Next 10 Years
No one has their future set-in stone, and it also okay if you don’t have all your plans figured out yet. Schools understand this as well, so when they ask, “where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?” they want to know your direction in life and if you are on the right path to that destination.
How to answer:
- Don’t stick to cliché answers like having a successful career or making a positive impact in the world. Instead shake up your answers by highlighting specific activities you want to be a part of and sharing your plans to change the world.
- Besides career goals, you can also talk about life goals like being able to afford paid trips for yourself and your family, meeting up to exchange business ideas with your friends, or owning several houses.
An entrance interview isn’t a life or death situation; it’s simply a conversation between you and a representative from your desired school in which you explain why you’d be a good fit for their college and the program you’ve chosen. As a result, you have no reason to be apprehensive, afraid, or concerned about how your performance will effect your application.
To prepare, read our study guide, practice with friends or family as much as possible, jot down and memorize essential data you’d like to convey at the interview, and show up for your examination with confidence.
This complete guide on Admission Interview Tips can give you the head start you need to ace the interview.
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