With the school year winding down to a close many high school juniors and their families are making summer plans that inevitably include a college visit. Along with the information session and tour is an opportunity for students to participate in a college interview. In this article I will describe the two basic types of interviews and some tips for mastering them.
Types of College Interviews
Evaluative interviews are used as a factor in making admissions decisions. Informational interviews are an opportunity to assist applicants to learn more about the college.
During an evaluative interview, students have an opportunity to present themselves in a way that distinguishes them from other candidates. The interview will center on conversation about your school, courses, activities as well as your long-term academic and personal goals. Therefore it pays to have prepared answers to these questions in advance while still leaving room to be flexible and spontaneous. In turn you will have a chance to ask questions about the school. Research the majors and activities that interest you and have some questions that are well thought out. Do not ask obvious questions whose answers can be readily found on the schools website. Following the interview your evaluator will write up a summary of their impressions to share with the admissions committee.
An informational interview is your chance to “interview” the school helping you make an informed decision about whether this school is a good fit for you and whether you should apply. Again prepare a list of well thought out questions to guide the process.
In most cases even if the interview is evaluative, it is not one of the most important criteria in making a final decision. An interview can have a positive effect on your admission but rarely a negative one. So try to relax and be yourself.