Excellent Questions To Ask During An Interview

Common Factors of Great Questions

You don’t know what questions you’ll be asked during a college admissions interview, although we have an extensive crowdsourced list our students have been asked, except for one: Do you have any questions for me? So be prepared with at least three to five questions that will give you a deeper understanding of the school.

Use open-ended questions that allow the interviewer to delve deeper into a topic versus a simple yes or no answer. Interviewers talk with many students, most of whom don’t ask questions. Asking well-thought-out questions helps you stand out from other applicants and provides insights you may not be able to glean any other way.

Below are some of our favorite questions for students to ask during an admissions interview.

Excellent Questions to Ask During a College Admissions Interview

  • Why did you choose to work at this college?
  • What changes do you anticipate happening at the university over the next five years?
  • If you could only change two things about this school, what would you change and why?
  • Describe the type of student they are looking for at your college.
  • Describe the type of student who does not tend to do well at your school.
  • What are the reasons the students who have chosen to leave your school have left in the last three years?
  • What things would faculty, staff, and administrators like to see changed to make this college or university an even better workplace?
  • When students and parents select your school over your competition, what are the main reasons they list for explaining why they chose you?
  • When students and parents select other schools over you, what are the main reasons they list for choosing your competition?
  • What is the vision of the President for this school?
  • Is there a strategic plan in place, and if so, what are the main priorities in the strategic plan? Note: most schools have their Board craft a strategic plan that maps out where the school is trying to go over the next 5-10 years. Sometimes the Strategic Plan is on their website. You can impress the heck out of most admissions interviewers if you ask some specific open-ended questions about the strategic plan if you have read the strategic plan.
  • What has been your experience, positive or negative, with students from my local area that have come to your school in the past five years?
  • What are the philosophy and priorities of your Athletic Director when it comes to your sports programs?
  • What changes do you anticipate in your visual or performing arts departments within the next three years?
  • What changes did your school make during the COVID pandemic?
  • What role does demonstrated talents outside of the classroom factor in the decisions that your admissions committee makes?
  • What colleges/universities do you regard as the most similar to you, and what about these schools make you feel you have a lot in common with them?
  • How would you describe the reputation of your school in the local area?
  • If you had to describe your college’s greatest strength in one word, what word would you select and why?
  • Describe any initiatives your school has in place to diminish class divisions between the wealthy student and the student who receives a lot of financial aid.
  • Which department do you feel is the strongest and why?
  • What methods does your school use to recruit a diverse and talented faculty?
  • What are the main reasons students have been asked to leave your college over in the last few years?
  • What is your biggest concern for your college over the next five years?
  • How is your school different today than it was ten years ago?
  • If I am accepted and enrolled at your school, what advice do you have for me?
  • What changes in your academic curriculum are under consideration by your department heads, academic deans, president, or board?
  • Why should students come to this school? 
  • How do your teachers implement critical thinking skills into your courses?
  • If you do not have a particular club I am interested in, what would I need to go through to start a new club at your school?
  • How is the use of technology implemented in the classroom?
  • How is community service integrated into your curriculum?
  • How does your advisor system work at your school?
  • What makes your career services department different from that of your competition?
  • How would your alumni say that your school has changed their lives?
  • What are a few things about the admission process that most candidates need help understanding?
  • What is the personality of this college? 
  • What did you not know about this college until you arrived here?
  • What type of student thrives at this school?
  • What kind of student struggles here?
  • How does the academic support system help students?
  • When does the Career Center start working with students, and how do they support them?
  • It is always impressive when a student research and notes something specifically about a school that interests them and asks the admissions counselor about it. For example: “I notice that your Future Leaders club has grown from four students in 2020 to 34 students in 2023. Can you tell me what it is about this club that has made it so popular?”  This approach can be used for dozens of areas of school life.

Pro Tips

  • Closed-ended questions are occasionally appropriate but don’t limit yourself to these types of questions.
  • Nothing is wrong with writing down your questions and referring to them during the interview. 
  • Maintain eye contact when asking your questions. Research shows people don’t trust those who don’t look them in the eyes.
  • Smile, it makes you come across as having a friendly and warm disposition.
  • If you draw a blank on a question, say “would it be ok if we come back to that question?” Just don’t forget to circle back and provide an answer.
  • Use examples to backup your points and make your answers interesting and more compelling.
  • Don’t try to impress your interview with words that aren’t in your normal speaking vocabulary.
  • If you have an in-person interview, have a college resume with you to give to the interviewer at the start of the conversation.
  • Remind yourself that you’re just having a conversation with someone that wants the best for you.
  • Ask the interviewer that if you think of a question later if you can follow up with an email. If the answer is yes, be sure to get their contact information.
  • Demonstrate to the interviewer that you’ve done your homework by not asking questions that can be found easily on the school website.
  • Remember to follow up with a thank you email or handwritten note withing 24 hours of your interview.