Preparing for a College Interview

As you’re narrowing down your choices for college applications, you may start visiting campuses and want to learn more about your top few. An interview is an exciting part of the college application process, and I would definitely recommend incorporating one into any college tours you take, if available.

Interviews can certainly be nerve-wracking. I’ll be honest, my interview at the University of Rochester did not go as well as I’d hoped. In fact, halfway through I started coughing and needed to take a water break. I was mortified! Yet I’m here today! The college interview is not to judge you; it’s really a chance for you to get a closer look at the school. You get the opportunity to meet with someone who understands the ins and outs of the college. You can receive a confident answer about any questions you have about the campus location, academics, admissions, etc. It provides a safe way for you to figure out if the college is right for you!

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That being said, how can you prepare for the interview? Here are a few questions you may be asked:

  1. What extracurricular activities interest you?
  2. What are some new things you’re hoping to try in college?
  3. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  4. What interests you about the school?

I know personal questions, especially ones about the future, can be stressful. It’s best to just be honest! Your interviewers are not looking for a specific, ideal answer anyway. They are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Talk about what you’ve enjoyed in the past, and what you could see yourself doing in the future. Don’t worry if you don’t actually end up joining the Quidditch team . . . it’s the thought and ambition that counts! Same with your vision for your future. It’s totally okay not to know yet. You can talk about your ideas and how you think the courses in college will help you make it there.

So do your research!

For your Rochester interview, try Googling our different departments to learn more about coursework and faculty. Look at our course description page to read about the classes offered each semester. Some of the blurbs are super interesting. I’m taking a Psychology of Gender class this fall, if you need some inspiration for a cool class to research.

Check out our Campus Community Connection page; it lists all of our awesome organizations. You can find one for just about every niche out there. And if you don’t find one that fits your specific interests, then you can suggest starting your own club! For me, I knew I wanted to continue working in the diabetes field so I wanted to join the College Diabetes Network. I also wanted to continue dancing, so I looked into the Ballet Performance Group. I mentioned both of these clubs to my admissions officer during my interview. My interviewer agreed that those chapters would be great for me to try out.

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Definitely check out all the incredible organizations and clubs we have to offer. We have TONS!

Ask questions!

Lastly, think about what you want to ask your interviewer! Yes, the interview is a two-way street.

Here are a few things to consider thinking about ahead of time and talking about in the interview:

  1. What kind of student body fits you best? Big or small?
  2. Are you interested in Greek life?
  3. Are you interested in research? Music? Dance? Medicine?
  4. Is there a specific program or organization or sport that you are interested in?
  5. Is there any aspect of your home life or high school life that you don’t want to give up at college? How can you continue it?
  6. Is there anything about the City of Rochester itself that intrigues you?
  7. What’s something unique that you want to bring to the table?

Once you’ve thought about those things, you can ask your interviewer for more details about a specific academic program, student organization, or campus department you’ve researched. You can also ask about research, faculty, the city, housing, and dining. What do you need to know in order to make an informed decision?

Your interview is an open book. Make it what you want it to be, ask all your questions, and figure out if the University of Rochester is the right fit for you.

Feeling more prepared? Schedule your interview today!

About the author

Charlotte Pillow

I am a member of the Class of 2019. I am originally from Ridgewood, NJ. I am a student in the Dual Degree for Nursing program. I am majoring in nursing, public health, and interdisciplinary dance studies, and minoring in psychology. I am the President of the College Diabetes Network and a research assistant at the School of Nursing. For the 2017 spring semester, I am studying public health at the University of Oxford.

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