Dealing with college interviews


The noise of my alarm clock wakes me from my slumber. Groggily, I turned off my alarm and stared at the clock. It’s 7:30 a.m., too early to be up on a Saturday.  Nevertheless, I pulled myself out of bed to pick out my clothes for my college interview.

Deciding what to wear to the interview turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. How fancy do I need to dress? What is the weather going to be like? Should I wear school colors? Eventually, I decided on a pair of black dress pants, a gray blouse and a cardigan.

Once on campus, my friend and I used our phones to locate the admissions office where we were told to report. Fortunately, we were both relatively familiar with the campus, and we found our way around easily. After checking in, an interviewer almost immediately called my name and led me down the hall into a brightly painted conference room just big enough for a small side table and two chairs. I was a little taken aback by the quick turnover, but never less ready to knock out the interview.

The interview lasted about 40 minutes, and honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I admit I went into the interview fairly unprepared and relaxed, but I did get a little nervous as I walked into the interview room. However, once we started talking I relaxed and just enjoyed the conversation. In between some small talk, we discussed things like classes, extracurricular activities, and essay prompts. I also asked my interviewer some questions about the university, specifically about the university’s unique essay prompts.

I left the admissions office feeling good, and I really believe it helped that my interviewer was a recent alumni (and from what I hear that is usually the case). Having a young alumni interviewer made me feel less intimidated and allowed me to ask about my interviewers experience at the university.

Looking back, my only regret was forgetting to bring up certain aspects of myself. It’s easy to gloss over certain things when you know you have a small amount of time with someone. I don’t think it was detrimental, but I probably could have switched some of my focuses around if I had planned more of a mental list of what I wanted to talk about.

Overall, college interviews are not as bad as one may initially believe. My suggestion is be prepared to ask questions (when in doubt, ask about the interviewer’s experience at the university) and to go in with the mindset that the interview is just a small supplement to your application. Think of it as if you were talking to an older friend or relative who went to that university.

If you have the opportunity to interview at one of your top universities, take it. It shows interest, and it can’t really hurt you.