The College Interview



Some colleges require an interview as part of the admission process, but most do not. It is still important for you to visit the college at which you may spend four years of your life. The interview may help you in your selection of a college or to verify your choice. You should take a copy of your transcript. A copy of an unofficial transcript can be obtained in the guidance office with sufficient notice.


1. Learn as much as possible about the college before you visit. Be prepared to both answer

and ask questions.

2. Give some advance thought to the things you want to look for and ask about. Having a list

of questions with you is acceptable.

3. Go alone rather than with a friend or a group of friends. Mom and Dad go along for the

drive, but they do not participate in the admissions interview. Parents are sometimes

invited to speak with the officer following the interview.

4. Arrive on time or a few minutes early.

5. Be yourself at all times -- be honest, sincere, and interested.

6. Know your background and experience. Be prepared to present it in an orderly

manner. An opening question may be “Tell me about yourself.”

7. Be prepared to tell why you have chosen this particular college and what you expect to

get out of your years there.

8. Be ready to answer questions about your SAT scores, latest grades, rank-in-class, and

courses you have taken.

9. Smile! Speak distinctly. Look at the interviewer when you are speaking.

10. State and defend opinions only if asked. Do not be argumentative. If you don’t know

something, admit it. Don’t try to bluff.

11. Appearance: Dress neatly and professionally.

12. Relax! Interviews are meant to be informative to both parties. Try to get as much out of

the interview as you put into it.

13. Thank your interviewer for his/her time and consideration.


The following are examples of questions that may be asked:

1. How did you first learn about our school?

2. What are your career aspirations?

3. What might you be interested in as a future profession?

4. What accomplishments have you achieved or activities have you participated in that have

had a significant impact upon you?

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

6. How familiar are you with our school and program?

7. Which one of your activities has given you the most satisfaction?

8. If you had to do high school over again, how would you do it differently?

9. What specific “life goals” do you wish to pursue?

10. What are your priorities in selecting a college?

11. How would you describe your high school and how would you change it?

12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

13. Discuss your most stimulating intellectual experience.

14. What is the most significant contribution that you have made to your school?

15. What book/articles have made a lasting impression on you? Do you prefer the works of a particular author or in a particular field?

16. Have you ever thought of not going to college? What would you do?

17. What will be the “great life” for you in 20 years?

18. Describe yourself as a person.

19. If I handed you my telephone and let you talk to one living person, with whom would you

speak? Why?

20. If you could meet one person from the past who is no longer living, who would it be? Why?

21. Why should we accept you to our school?


Your visit will be worth more if you are sure to get information about things that are important to you. Moreover, it is really good to have an answer when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. Here are some possibilities. Make your own list to fit your concerns, and write down the answers at each school you visit.

What are the Admissions requirements?

What kind of students come here? How diverse are they? (In terms of geography, ethnic, socioeconomic, interests, etc.

What percent of the applicants are accepted?

Approximate the attrition rate for the previous year?

What do students like (and dislike) most about this college?

Is the college researching any new concentrations that might be introduced in the near future?

How big are your classes? Do large classes have small discussion groups?

What is the typical class size of freshman courses?

Do you have to be a music major to sing in a chorus, a PE major to play on a team, a drama major to be in a play, a journalism major to write for the school paper, etc.?

Do most students stay on campus during the weekends? What is there to do?

Do the students get to know the professors?

How structured are the course requirements? Do you have a Core Curriculum?

How intense are the academics? Do students compete with themselves or with each other?

What is the academic advisory system like? What is the advisor - student ratio?

If I need help with academic, personal, or social problems, how can I get it?

What are the residence halls like?

How has the campus changed/expanded/improved in the past four years?

How is the food?

Can I have a car on campus?

What kinds of activities are most popular? EG: political groups, fraternities & sororities, subject-related organizations, athletics, artistic activities.

What attention is the school presently paying to such topics as drug/alcohol prevention, campus security, and campus escort service?

Do you have internships or other opportunities to get real job experience?

What percentage of your graduates who apply to graduate school are accepted? Medical School? Law School? Veterinary School?

What are my chances of being accepted?

Does the college anticipate an increase in the prices? Will it change next year?

If I apply for Financial Aid, will it hurt my chances of being accepted?

Does the college offer merit-based scholarships? If so, how much and what are the criteria?

Do you have Rolling Admissions? Early Decision? Early Action? How does it work?

Can you tell me about campus security? What is the crime rate on campus?


1. Make notes on the interview and the college as soon as possible after the appointment.
a. likes
b. dislikes
c. important points to remember
d. name and title of interviewer

2. Send a follow up email of appreciation
a. This shows thoughtfulness, courtesy, and maturity.
b. It reinforces the admissions officer’s memory of you as an