Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
It’s nearing the end of November and as some of my students applied to their dream schools through Early Decision, a few of them will be having interviews with University representatives/alumni.
It’s important to note that the interview is not a major factor for undergraduate admissions in US Universities. Several of my more timid students have successfully been admitted to their Early Decision choices after turning down their interview opportunities. (And those schools were highly competitive).
That being said, if the student is comfortable in conversing with an adult and is able to show passion, character and depth throughout the conversation, it is highly recommended that the student does take advantage of the interview opportunity.
As I’m prepping some of my students for their interviews with US University representatives, I’ve compiled a few tips that every interviewee should follow:
1. Don’t memorise your personal statement or supplement essay
The aim of the interview is really to show facets of your personality that can’t be conveyed through the essays, so please don’t regurgitate what you’ve already submitted or will be submitting to the University. Make this interview memorable so that as the interviewer fills out that feedback form for your interview, he doesn’t write the same boring comments he writes for the other interviewees.
2. Mirror your interviewer
If we’re meeting at a Starbucks, should I buy coffee? How soft/hard should my handshake be? How formal should my answers be? Most questions revolving what to do during an interview can be answered by “mirroring your interviewer.” If your interviewer is drinking coffee, feel free to get a coffee or hot chocolate. If your interviewer is squeezing your hand like Donald Trump, don’t reciprocate with a weak handshake. If your interviewer is talking about the university's football team, try to share your excitement about collegiate sports even if you don’t know anything about football.
3. Link everything back to the University
Okay, maybe not everything, but if the interviewer is asking what you did this summer, do you think he’s just interested in knowing that you didn’t waste your summer away playing video games? As proud representatives of their alma maters, most of these interviewers have very important jobs and are usually directors or CEO’s of companies. Don’t waste their time by telling them irrelevant information. Don’t just tell them what you did, but link it towards how you can contribute to the university or how the university can help you. If example if you did an internship at Lalaland Company this summer, make sure to tell the interviewer how this experience can help you in case-competitions at the University, or how the University can prepare you to get into this field in the future.
Stay tuned for tips on writing a remarkable Thank You Letter.
Happy interviewing, Jason