Fall is an exciting and nerve-wrecking time for seniors both in high school and college. High school seniors are (in some cases) being interviewed as part of their college application process, and many college seniors are going through graduate school or job interviews at the same time.
This year, I obtained a new job as a senior interviewer with the Office of Admissions. From my experiences as a college admission interviewer and a current job-searching interviewee, I have some insights for those of you who are feeling anxious about interviews.
1. Understanding what you are passionate about in life is key to having a successful interview.
No matter if it’s playing a specific sport, volunteering with a particular organization, writing for the school newspaper or doing artwork, our admissions interviewers are always interested in learning about students talk about what they love to do. It shows motivation and drive. We want students who can not only do well academically, but also thrive on campus and grow during their time here. Understanding what you want for yourself in the future and what you are passionate about are essential elements to having a great interview.
2. Make sure you do some research about the school before stepping in that interview room.
No matter what school you are applying to, your interviewer will always ask you questions like, “Why do you want to come here?” and “What brought you here?” Your knowledge about the school (not just about how pretty the campus is or how amazing the food is) sends a positive signal to the interviewer and your demonstrated interest will help you stand out from other applicants.
3. Before answering any question, think about why the interviewer asked the question first.
This might be the most difficult part for many high schoolers to handle. But interviewers don’t ask random questions; we ask questions with purpose. We might be trying to assess how motivated you are, how you perform under pressure or how interested you are in our school. Think about why your interviewer asked the question before you answer, and make sure you present yourself accordingly.
4. Please ask questions at the end!
You might have asked multiple questions during the information session and tour, but make sure you reserve at least one question for your interviewer. It’s not only another chance to demonstrate your interest, but it also will help you to get to know the school from another point of view. Plus, you should think of your interview as more of a conversation. So please ask your questions!
Last but not least—dress to impress, smile, relax, be yourself, and shine!