Mar   2012



Been There, Done That: College Interview Advice

Assistant Editor, Wintergreen Orchard House

Carly Nuttall is a current junior at The George Washington University studying international affairs, but before enrolling, she was interviewed by an admission counselor. Out of the 12 colleges Carly applied to, she ended up interviewing at four of them. She offers some sound advice for students who may be interviewing in the coming weeks:

Q. How long did each interview take?

A. I’d say about 30-45 minutes for each one.

Q. Did you find that you were asked similar questions throughout your multiple interviews?

A. Overall, yes. Colleges tend to ask the same thing like, why this school? Why are you a good fit? Why are you qualified to attend this school? Pretty general, but they would also throw you for a curve by asking something that makes you think, just to get a better feel for you are. Actually, most of the interview had predictable questions, which kind of kept me at ease.

Q. Not everyone is comfortable with a one-on-one interview, would you suggest prepping beforehand and maybe practicing in front of a mirror?

A. I am very comfortable with interviews myself, so I didn’t feel the need to, but definitely do it if you don’t feel comfortable.

Q. They say dress for success—how dressed up did you get for your interviews?

A. I didn’t go to extremes, but business professional attire is best. Nice shoes, pants and a blazer, but no short skirts.

Q. Best advice you can give to juniors and seniors in high school now prepping for applying to colleges?

A. The college process seems really stressful at the time, but once you're in, it's really not! People don't care where you got in or applied. There's a college for everyone, and even if you don't get it right on the first try, you can always transfer.

The interview may seem like the worst part of applying since it is a way for the interviewer to get to know you as a person, but be yourself. You’ll probably be asked similar questions across the board, but sometimes you may be asked something more personal and you have to stay on your toes. If you aren’t good with public speaking, practice your answers to questions like why you chose your major or why you want to attend that particular college; practicing before can help ease the stress. Make sure you dress appropriately, but always remember that this is just one step when it comes to applying.

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About Meaghan Heffernan

Meaghan Heffernan

Meaghan is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for colleges and universities in the western United States. She graduated in January 2011 from Fitchburg State University with a degree in professional writing and course concentrations in political science. Meaghan wrote for student-run newspaper The Point at Fitchburg, was an active member of the English Club, and was involved in creative writing groups. During Meaghan’s free time, she can be found working at her part-time job, reading, or spending time with her family. Her college application and admission process was a breeze, and she is hoping to make the experience just as easy and organized for future college applicants.

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