7 Common College Interview Questions

The myOptions Team

Though admissions interviews may appear intimidating, this is your opportunity to shine beyond the nitty gritty of your application. Going into the interview prepared will do wonders for your mental clarity and help you nail the interview. Below are some common interview questions and thoughts on how to approach them:

1. Why do you want to attend this school?

This question is frequently posed, and you should be able to deliver a strong answer right out of the gate. The key is to employ specifics and details. While there’s certainly no need to memorize a college’s website, you should highlight programs, facilities, and opportunities that you find attractive. You want to show that you’ve truly done your research and demonstrate why this particular school is a good fit for you. Answering in generalities and clichés won’t convince your interviewer that you belong there.

2. What are your academic interests?

When it comes to this question, don’t worry about having a fancy answer such as quantum mechanics or Keynesian economics (though it’s perfectly fine if those are, in fact, your interests). Moreover, it’s okay if you’re undecided as to what your major will be. After all, you have yet to even begin college! However, you should be able to articulate subjects that excite you. Talk about disciplines that intersect with your passions. Above all, your interviewer is looking for candidates who have a passion for learning.

3. What’s your favorite book/What book would you recommend?

Fear not; there’s no right or wrong answer to this question! Don’t respond with a title you think the interviewer wants to hear, and don’t simply choose an author from a list of Pulitzer Prize winners. Interviewers use this question to determine whether or not you read outside of your school curriculum. Of course, if you discovered your favorite book as a result of an assignment, it’s no biggie. Additionally, you want to give concrete reasons and examples as to why this particular story resonated with you. Your response will reveal how you form arguments and think critically about texts.

4. How will you contribute to our campus?

Sure, colleges want undergraduates who are intelligent and academically inclined. However, they also look beyond what applicants will bring to the classroom. They seek students who will contribute to the community-at-large and help make the school a vibrant place. Think about your passions and hobbies. What activities and organizations might you join? What new groups would you think about introducing to campus? In short, what impact do you hope to have on the campus community? What will your legacy be?

5. What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Know that this question is attempting to gain insight into your character. Obviously, we all have strengths and weaknesses. There’s no need to appear overly boastful, ashamed, or contrite.
No matter the strength you offer, it is imperative you provide examples/scenarios. This will lend weight and credence to your answer.

With regards to your weakness, don’t respond with a strength veiled as a weakness (for example, “I’m too much of a perfectionist”). Interviewers are much more likely to respond to a truthful, vulnerable answer. It’s okay to own up to your shortcomings. Use this as a chance to demonstrate how you’re working towards overcoming them.

6. What are your career goals/Where do you see yourself in the future?

As we stated above, don’t deliver an answer based on what you think your interviewer would like to hear. While it’s great to dream big, having modest goals is okay, too. More importantly, understand that it’s perfectly acceptable not to have a specific plan or career track laid out. Simply be honest (we cannot stress that enough). Schools just want to see how their offerings might fit into your future plans. Finally, you should avoid listing personal goals (this including marriage or the desire to acquire wealth).

7. Do you have any questions for me?

You want to demonstrate that you’ve been thinking about the school and how it will meet your needs and desires. So, arrive armed with questions you wrote beforehand. This will only serve to show your thoughtfulness and preparation. Remember to steer clear of general or negative questions. Instead, focus on topics related to your specific interests!

After familiarizing yourself with these questions, you should go into this interview season with confidence! It may help calm the nerves to realize that interviewers are not trying to be harsh. The interviewer wants to ensure you’d be a good fit for their school and vice versa. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the prospective college to ensure it’s the best fit.

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