The College Interview

At many colleges, an interview (either in-person or over the phone/Skype) is a required or encouraged part of the application process. Though they can seem intimidating, you should treat interviews as valuable opportunities to showcase those subtle aspects of your personality which may not come across in the black and white numbers and letters in your application.

Of course, it can be awkward to talk about yourself, and highly nerve-wracking to feel like an acceptance letter to the school of your dreams hinges on your answers.

It doesn’t need to be so stressful. If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to ROCKING your admissions interviews!

Prepare Your Answers:

Although there’s no way to anticipate exactly what questions the interviewer will ask, you should definitely think about your answers to some of the following common questions:

Why do you want to go to our school?

You will almost inevitably be asked some variation of this question, so come to the interview well-versed on your specific reasons for applying.

A good answer to this question goes far beyond some generic mumbling about the school’s academics or location. The more specific and genuine your response, the more impressed your interviewer will be.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm by arming yourself with factoids about specific academic programs or extracurricular opportunities.

What do you do with your free time?

Be prepared to speak to your strengths and interests — colleges are looking for vibrant, self-motivated, engaged students to join their campus communities.

The interview is a prime opportunity to showcase your personality and unique hobbies beyond just the information presented in your application. Do you like to cook? Make comic books? Do stand up comedy? Say so! Make sure to give admissions teams a sense of what you would contribute to their colleges.

What is your biggest academic weakness?

It’s never fun to address your flaws, especially in the context of an assistive interview. The key to answering this question is to provide evidence that you’re actively working to improve in your areas of weakness.

For example, maybe you have historically struggled with math, but you wrapped up last semester with your highest grades yet. Or maybe you find speaking up in class challenging, but have continually challenged yourself to contribute a certain number of times per week. Be sure to frame your weakness positively.


In addition to preparing answers to some of the most common questions, you should practice the mechanics of interviewing: speaking clearly and confidently, making eye contact, not fidgeting, etc. Do a mock interview with a friend or family member, and have them critique your body language as well as the substance of your responses.

Dress Sharp:

Make sure to dress for the occasion on the day of your interview. Although you don’t necessarily need to wear a suit or the equivalent, you should aim to look clean and professional. Avoid jeans and t-shirts. You want your outfit to reflect just how serious you are about applying to the school in question.

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