If a college or university grants individual interviews, we strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. A one-to-one meeting with a member of the admission staff is always productive and helpful. Since admission office calendars are usually crowded, it is important to telephone the office well in advance of the day you wish to visit, or set an appointment for an interview online.
Interviews are usually not the basis on which admission decisions are made. Instead, the interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about the institution and for you to augment the information that you gave (or will give) in the application.
Many colleges provide “local” or “alumni” interviews. In this instance, students meet with an admission or alumni representative here in the Seattle area. Ask the admission office if they schedule such interviews, especially if you have been unable to visit the campus. It shows that you are taking an active interest in that college, and gives you a chance to learn more about life on that campus.
PREPARING FOR AN INTERVIEW:
Even though it is impossible to predict exactly what an interviewer may ask, certain types of questions are common. One bit of general advice for you: keep up with current events. The interviewer may be interested in your opinion on current news, so be sure you know what you think. It is also a good idea to be prepared to discuss something that you have read recently for your own enjoyment.
The typical college interview lasts about thirty minutes, and usually opens with questions that you can answer easily and comfortably. Then, the interviewer may pose more difficult—or surprising—questions. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your school, your work, and your interests. In some instances, you may need to pause for a few moments before producing an answer. It is perfectly all right to say something like, “I need to think about that,” and then reflect for a short while before responding or ask to come back to it later. Overall, the interview atmosphere will be conversational, so do not feel as if you are about to face an inquisition or interrogation. However, take great care to be diplomatic and respectful.
Of equal importance are the questions you ask of the interviewer. Again, preparing beforehand is essential; you do not want to ask questions already answered in the information session or on the tour, or questions about programs that the school does not have. Try to make your questions open-ended, like, “Can you tell me about students’ involvement in community service?” rather than, “Do you offer community service programs?”
Your Process Coach is happy to do a mock interview session with you at EPS before you have your first interview. Most of our students take advantage of doing a dry run and report that they are much more relaxed during actual interviews because they have an idea of what might be coming.
See below for sample questions that the interviewer might ask you and sample topics for questions that you might ask the interviewer.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS THE INTERVIEWER MAY ASK YOU:
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Which subjects interest you the most? Which have been the most difficult for you?
What are your favorite activities outside of the classroom?
Have you read anything interesting lately?
Are you thinking about a specific major or career path? If so, what is it?
What specific things about this college interest you?
If you had a million-dollar grant to give away, who would get it, and why?
What are the “hot issues” at Eastside Prep right now?
What do you like best about Eastside Prep? What would you change?
Describe the qualities of the best teacher you ever had.
What are your best qualities? What are your limitations or what would you change?
Why are you interested in this institution?
SAMPLE TOPIC AREAS FOR QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK THE INTERVIEWER:
Academics and faculty: Ask specifically about the programs you are interested in.
The student body: What is the culture like?
Social life and campus activities: How do students spend their weekends?
Campus facilities: What are future plans?
Financial aid: What are need-based and merit aid options?