Five things can ultimately make or break an interview:
- Your research and preparation for the interview.
- Whether you are genuinely interested in the college and if you’re able to convey this well.
- The caliber of questions you ask the interviewer.
- If you adhere to basic interview etiquette like smiling, making eye contact, and contributing to the conversation without dominating the interview.
- Whether you display an engaging, genuine, and likeable personality. In other words, are you comfortable in your skin?
It’s the first point that we’re going to focus on here. Below are common questions you should be prepared to answer during a college admissions interview. Students we’ve worked with have been asked these specific questions. You won’t be asked all these questions in an interview, but there’s a good chance that most of the questions you are asked will be on this list.
Common Interview Questions
We’ve found that these questions, or some version of them, are the most commonly asked.
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What’s your favorite subject, and why do you like it?
- What activities are you involved with that you most enjoy?
- Why are you interested in our college?
- What have we not discussed that you would like to talk about?
- What questions do you have for me? Check out this list of questions you can ask.
Example Interview Questions
- Tell me about your family.
- What has your high school experience been like?
- Is there a particular career you’re interested in?
- What’s a book you’ve read that had an impact on your life?
- What are you looking for in your college experience?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What would you change about yourself?
- Tell me about a setback you faced and how did you handle it?
- What is your biggest fear or concern about attending this college?
- What role do you play in your friend group?
- How would your teachers describe you?
- How would your friends describe you?
- What other schools are you applying to?
- What type of learner are you?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you?
- Tell me about a time you took the initiative.
- Describe your time management skills.
- How do you deal with conflict?
- What will you bring to our campus community to improve it?
- What would you do if you didn’t go to college?
- Share an example of how you’ve built a relationship with someone very different than you.
- What’s been your biggest academic challenge?
- Describe what’s been your most interesting academic experience.
- What is the most significant difference between you now and in your freshman year?
- What college classes are you most excited to take?
- Who is in your support system?
- If you could design a course at college, what would you teach?
- What core value speaks to you?
- What would you do if you had only 24 hours to do anything you wanted?
- What would you write if you had a page in the New York Times or Washington Post to write anything or share any message?
- If you could be on your school board, what’s one thing you would keep about your school and what is something you would change?
- What is an experience in the past few years that has changed your mind?
- If you were showing someone around your hometown, what place would be important to show them?
- What is your favorite emoji to use and why?
- If you don’t have an immediate answer to a question, ask if you can come back to it. The interviewer will likely agree to the request and will give you a chance to formulate your thoughts as you move through the interview. It’s our experience that an interview has never denied this request.
- If you’re asked what other schools you’re applying to, you don’t have to share all the schools you’re pursuing or any of them if it makes you uncomfortable. You can let them know that you’re doing your research on schools.
- Try to include examples in your answers because personal stories can resonate with the interviewer. So instead of just saying that you like to read for fun, give an example of the books you’ve read or the book club you started.
- Question #32 is one of the questions that will give the most insight to you as a candidate. This is your chance to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and want to learn something about the school that isn’t easily found on its website. Be prepared to ask at least three to five questions of the interviewer.
- Be prepared for the interviewer who simply says, “Tell me about yourself,” and then the rest of the interview only asks, “What questions do you have for me?” This can be an opportunity for you to highlight the reasons you feel you’re a good match for the school and to get answers to your specific questions.
- Send a thank you note, handwritten or email, right away. Good manners are always appreciated.