College interviews can be a lot. It feels like you have to impress the interviewer in a short amount of time and fit in as much information about yourself as possible. You have to appear professional, yet friendly enough to let your true personality shine through.
Yeah, interviews are tricky.
But as much as they appear difficult, they are also opportunities for you to learn more about the school. Topics can range from career aspirations to favorite Netflix shows, and interviews can truly show who you are besides grades and test scores. Here are a few things I learned about a good interview as both an interviewer and an interviewee.
1. Prepare questions in advance.
Interviewers almost always ask if you have any questions at the end. Asking questions shows that you are truly interested in the school and self-directed enough to ask questions. Always prepare questions in advance so that even if you can’t think of any questions during the interview, you have some ready. Asking good questions at the end is a chance to leave a good impression!
2. Talk in-depth about only a few relevant experiences and interests.
You can be involved in many different clubs and play ten different instruments, but interviews unfortunately have a time-limit and the content should stay relevant to your academic and future aspirations. Some of the best interviews I’ve had were when students are able to go into great detail about one or two experiences, explaining everything from what the experience was like to what they took away from it. It is more advantageous to talk deeply and passionately about one activity that you’re involved in instead of trying to show off how many activities you do.
3. Research the school.
Kind of obvious, but surprisingly many students do not research about the school before interviews. As a result, they have no questions for me regarding the school and the interview feels as if it could be for any other school, not specifically Rochester. Researching about the school and thinking about different aspects of the school that interest you will make your interview more memorable.
4. Think of the interview as a conversation, not question-and-answer time.
As an interviewer myself, I greatly appreciate it when I am able to learn something new or take away something valuable from the interview. Think about the interview as not just a time when you answer questions, but as a conversation with the interviewer. Try to engage the other person by asking questions and giving detailed answers instead of just yes-or-no response.
Successful college interviews are just like any other good conversations; when you are able to walk away from them feeling satisfied and enriched with new knowledge. Don’t be nervous. Have fun with it!