How Should I Prepare for a Virtual Admission Interview?

Laurie Kopp WeingartenLaurie Kopp Weingarten
Certified Educational Planner
Co-founder, One-Stop College Counseling

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges have switched from in-person, on-campus interviews to virtual interviews. Many alumni interviews are also expected to be conducted virtually through video conferencing.

The college interview can help give students a leg-up in the admission process, highlighting your enthusiasm and demonstrating your interest in attending a particular school. You want to present yourself in the best light—and with a virtual interview, “the best light” can be taken quite literally! Here are my top tips for the technical aspects of an online interview. 

  • Make sure your computer is charged. You don’t want to suddenly disconnect in the middle of the interview! (The best plan is having your computer plugged into a power source.)
  • Keep the camera at eye level. You might need to put a book under your computer to accomplish this. Speak into the camera and avoid looking at yourself on the screen so it looks like you’re making eye contact.
  • Don’t have a lot of distractions around you. Choose a quiet place with an uncluttered background.  If you’re doing this in your bedroom, make sure it’s not a mess (make your bed, don’t have clothes or clutter on the floor, and close your closet door). 
  • Avoid wearing white, bright red, and all-black outfits, which typically don’t look good on camera. Solid blues, greens, and purples are a better choice. 
  • Don’t have light source behind you—it will make it hard to see your face. The light should be in front of you; facing a window is ideal. Some people use a lamp or ring lights in front of the computer to ensure their face is clearly visible.
  • Ask a friend or family member to do a run-through with you an hour before your scheduled interview so you can check that your audio and video work. Also verify that your face is well lit and that your background looks appropriate. Play around with your camera angle to make sure you are centered in the video and at a suitable distance from the camera.  
  • Before you begin, remind people not to enter the room. Place a “Do Not Disturb—Interviewing!” note on your door.
  • Sit up straight, speak slowly, enunciate, and smile! Be personable, enthusiastic and friendly, just like you would during an in-person conversation.

Most importantly, relax, be yourself, and ace that interview!

Prepare for the hardest college interview questions and more in our College Admission section. 

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