This week our guest author is Hannah Moriggi, Senior Assistant Director, at Babson College. Hannah shares tips for students that take part in admission interviews.
Let’s face it, applying to college is stressful enough. Before or after you press that submit button on your application, you might feel like you’re drowning in the following wave of questions – Does this college offer interviews? Do I have to interview? Should I interview? What do I wear? What if I’m too nervous? Are they going to ask me questions I don’t know the answers to? Will I forget everything I want to say? You’re fine. I promise. Let’s run through some Do’s and Don’ts to get you started:
1. Do… find out what type of interview is offered at the colleges you’re applying to. Are they required? Optional? Evaluative? Informational? Don’t… assume. The best way to start your interview preparation is to inquire – email us, call us! We want to set you up for success.
2. Do… Dress in a manner that allows you to put your best foot forward. You only get one first impression – make it count! Don’t… allow your wardrobe to be a distraction from the quality of the conversation.
3. Do… Arrive Early. You’ll likely need to obtain a parking pass and fill out an interview sheet before your appointment can begin. Rule of thumb, arrive at least 15 minute early! Don’t… be late without calling. College Admission Offices and Alums volunteering to interview are likely on tight schedules and will want to make sure they can accommodate any changes to your availability, but with proper notice!
4. Do… lead with a good handshake and look your interviewer in the eye. This is your first point of contact with your interviewer and as I mentioned earlier, you only get one first impression, let it be a confident one. Don’t… be unaware of your body language. As humans, we can say a lot without speaking. Be mindful of your gestures and try to not fidget, while still expressing yourself in a natural way that’s true to you.
5. Do… Come prepared. Do your research in advance, and come equipped with your own questions. Don’t… walk into an interview without any talking points about yourself or the college. This will deter from the flow of quality conversation.
6. Do… Take a campus tour or attend an information session during your campus visit, preferably before your interview if possible. This will provide you with a solid foundation of the college’s mission, curriculum, campus life, etc. Don’t… arrive to an interview with no background knowledge of the school. Even if you haven’t visited before, do your research! It’s pretty much a guarantee that your interviewer will ask you why you’re applying.
7. Do… welcome conversation. The interview is designed for our staff to learn more about you, so don’t hesitate to be vocal. The best interviews are those that evolve naturally after a few questions, rather than a transactional give and take. We look forward to colorful conversations and hope that we won’t be doing all of the talking. Don’t… leave your voice at home. We are here for you. This is your time to shine!
8. Do… Come with questions. These questions should be thoughtful and prepared relating to aspects of the college experience that matter to you most (i.e. if community is of utmost important to you, perhaps you’d ask: “What’s one word you’d use to describe the student body?”). Don’t… leave without asking anything! Even just one question shows your interviewer you were listening and are invested! The interviewer will also likely ask if there’s anything you didn’t get a chance to share at the end. Don’t be shy in taking this opportunity.
9. Do… Follow-Up. More often than not, the admission counselor/student fellow/alum who conducted your interview will provide his/her card. It doesn’t hurt to send a quick thank you email and to reach out throughout the process with any questions. Don’t… be a stranger. Colleges that offer evaluative or informational interviews are doing so to get to know you better and connect with you. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to build a professional relationship.
10. Do… interview! There’s no don’t for this last one! At the end of the day, I always recommend interviewing if the college offers it. As long as you can speak confidently about yourself, both in and out of the classroom and can share why you’re applying to this college – I would say 9 times out of 10, interviewing will only help you! Hopefully these Dos and Don’ts ease some of your apprehension about the college interview. As admission professionals, we understand the world of admission is like the green curtain the Wizard of Oz operates behind – it’s a fine science, a secret magic and you truly don’t know what to expect. With that being said, if you trust yourself and you trust the process, know that you’ll end up where you belong and don’t forget to have fun along the ride…OH! And don’t forget to crush your interview!