If you are worried about your next college interview and are looking for college admissions interview questions and answers to practice with, you’ve come to the right place. College admissions interviews are an obstacle that you will have to overcome to start a new chapter in your academic life, with or without the help of a college admissions consulting service. Even though college interviews are extremely common, not all schools include interviews in their admissions process. If you get invited to an interview, you better bring your A-game, which is why it's so important to learn how to prepare for a college interview. Being prepared for whatever question the admissions committee might throw at you will help you feel more relaxed and confident, thus boosting your chances of acceptance. We’ve put together a list of 100 college admissions interview questions and how to answer them (with examples!) that you’ll definitely find useful!
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Your interview will start with a series of personal questions, such as "tell me about yourself". The admissions committee wants to find out things about you that might not be in your common app essay or college essays, so introductory questions will give you the opportunity to elaborate on certain subjects. Your overall strategy to answer these questions should consist of providing the interviewer with the context of what you are going to talk about (such as your family, your hobbies, or a certain experience that you had), mentioning specific skills or knowledge that you obtained from the situation you are describing, and linking them to your future in that school.
Looking for college admissions interview prep strategies? Watch this video:
Academic Background Questions
While your high school resume or common app activities section probably includes all the relevant aspects of your academic timeline, there are lots of things that the admissions committee might want to hear from you directly. Make sure to walk the interviewer through your academic achievements and how they have made you a suitable candidate for this program. Highlight impressive aspects of your academic performance, such as your GPA, any awards or recognitions, or special projects you took part in. Lastly, it is important to show your enthusiasm and ambitions by mentioning your academic goals and how this program can help you achieve them.
Personal and Professional Goals Questions
The admissions committee is going to try to figure out if you have the kind of mindset and motivation they look for in a student. You are likely going to be asked about your aspirations in life, your dreams, and fears, or what makes you different from the rest. Your answer strategy for this kind of question involves finding out which characteristics they value the most in applicants. Describe at least 3 qualities of yours that match those that the school is looking for, and back them up with examples from real life.
Would you like some tips on how to fill out the common app activities section? This infographic is for you:
Questions About the School and the Program
You are most likely to be asked questions of this nature whether you are applying to UC schools, your local community colleges, or some of the most prestigious or easiest Ivy Leagues schools. To answer this question, you will first have to research the school and gather as much information about it as possible. Think of specific aspects of this school that caught your interest. A good way to start your answer is by listing what you look for in a school. For example, you want your school to be located in a certain city, or to offer certain programs. Avoid making negative sentences, such as “I chose this school because other schools didn’t offer as many extracurriculars”, as it might sound like it is the second-best option. Try something like:
Questions About the Field You Want to Pursue
Convince the admissions committee that your intentions of pursuing a certain major are genuine. Are you applying to a liberal arts program? Or maybe you are choosing some of the best undergraduate business schools to attend? Start by describing what aspect of your chosen field caught your interest. Did anyone in your family influence you to follow a certain career path? Did you have a subject in school that made you become interested in a certain activity? You can use storytelling as a resource by narrating a life experience that made you change the way you think. Make sure to mention why you chose this particular school and program to fulfill your academic objectives and what you hope to learn from it.
Working on your Common App essay and interested in some tips? Check these out:
95 More Sample Questions to Practice with
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Tell me about your family.
3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
4. Can you describe yourself using 3 words?
5. What would you say are your weaknesses?
6. What would you say are your strengths?
7. How would your friends describe you?
8. What achievement are you most proud of?
9. What is your biggest regret?
10. Who do you admire the most?
11. What is your favorite book and why?
12. What are you reading at the moment?
13. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in life?
14. Tell me something that is not on your college application.
15. What would you say are the qualities of a leader?
16. Would you say you have leadership skills? Which ones?
17. Tell us about a talent of yours.
18. What would your ideal job be?
19. Do you like working as part of a team?
20. Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?
21. What was your graduating GPA?
22. Describe your usual study routine.
23. Describe your ideal school environment.
24. How would your teachers describe you?
25. What was your favorite subject in high school?
26. What was a subject that you hated in high school?
27. What was the hardest subject for you in high school?
28. What was your favorite high school experience?
29. What’s the lesson that you learned in high school that you value the most?
30. If you could change one thing about the education system, what would it be?
31. How important would you say your grades are?
32. What makes you a good student?
33. What academic skills do you need to improve?
34. Did you complete any honors, IB or AP courses? Which ones?
35. Tell us about an obstacle that you faced in high school and how you overcame it.
36. What extracurricular activities were you involved in?
37. What makes you different from other students?
38. Tell us about your favorite teacher in high school.
39. How do you handle stress before an exam?
40. Have you done any community service?
41. What are your academic areas or interests?
42. What was your biggest academic achievement?
43. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
44. Tell us about an experience that made you change the way you think.
45. What is your biggest dream?
46. What is your biggest fear?
47. Tell us about an experience where you showed leadership skills.
48. What is your idea of success?
49. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
50. What current issues are you interested in?
51. Do you have any role models?
52. If you had a free day, how would you spend it?
53. How do you plan on spending your summer?
54. What was your new year’s resolution this year?
55. What’s your most unpopular opinion?
56. What do you do best?
57. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?
58. What is your place on Earth?
59. Tell us about a tough decision you had to make.
60. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
61. What aspect of this program attracted you the most?
62. Why do you want to go to college?
63. What do you look for in a university?
64. How will this program help you achieve your long-term goals?
65. If you attend this school, do you plan on living on-campus or off-campus?
66. Is there any aspect of college that intimidates you?
67. Will you seek financial aid?
68. What skills do you expect to develop in college?
69. How will you contribute to this program?
70. What can you bring to this university?
71. How do you imagine a typical day as a student of this institution?
72. Have any of your relatives inspired you to choose this career path?
73. Have you applied to other schools as well? Which ones?
74. Tell us about your academic goals.
75. How do you plan on spending your school breaks?
76. Does research interest you?
77. If you get into more than one school, how would you make your decision?
78. What makes you a competitive candidate?
79. What would you say are the pros and cons of this school?
80. Do you plan on taking part in any extracurricular programs?
81. What do you hope to do after graduation?
82. Do you have any questions for us?
83. Will this program experience any changes in the foreseeable future?
84. What do you value the most about this college?
85. What should I expect after my interview?
86. How would you describe your experience as part of this institution?
87. Is there something you would change about this program?
88. How did this school contribute to getting you where you are today?
89. What makes your alumni different or special?
90. What makes you proud of being a part of this institution?
91. What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
92. How would you describe this institution’s academic culture?
93. Does this university offer any research opportunities?
94. Does this university offer any sort of career-placement opportunities?
95. What can you tell me about this university that is not on the website?
Ensuring your acceptance into your dream school will require you to impress the admissions committee in your interview. The best way to prepare yourself for the interview is with practice. Collect the most common college admissions questions and answers and rehearse your responses as much as possible with the help of a college advisor. Keep in mind that if you are an international student, you may be asked some specific questions about your educational background abroad. In this case, make sure you get some college admissions counseling for international students to help you navigate these questions. A college admissions process can be challenging and nerve-wracking, but with the right preparation, you will be able to answer all questions confidently!
1. How can I prepare for my college admissions interview?
Perfect practice makes perfect. Even though college interviews tend to follow a pattern, admissions committees can be unpredictable, and you must be ready for anything they might ask you. Thinking about your answers to the most common questions is an excellent way to practice. Ideally, you should rehearse with a professional who can give you personalized feedback, including feedback on your tone, vocabulary and body language that might otherwise go under your radar.
2. How do I greet the interviewer?
Always say hello, and then, if in doubt, it is best to read their body language and follow their lead. Wait for the interviewer to extend a handshake or lead you into the office. Always smile and start by thanking the interviewer for taking their time to conduct your interview.
3. How formal are college admissions interviews?
They are formal. They will be your only opportunity to make an impression that is good enough to grant you a spot in that school, so you won’t want to risk it by acting too casual. Wear adequate attire and be as polite as possible.
4. What should I know about the school beforehand?
Researching the school and the program thoroughly before your interview is a must. You will most definitely be asked questions about your motivations and reasons to choose that specific school, or ways in which you will contribute to the program if you get admitted. You will only be able to answer those questions properly if you have enough information about the institution. Learn their core values, their extracurricular programs, and important events or updates that you might be able to find on social media.
5. How do I know if I did well in the interview?
Unfortunately, there is no way of finding out if you did well in your interview, other than whether you get accepted or not. The best thing you can do is to practice your answer strategies and behavior.
6. Are college admissions interviews individual?
Normally, college admissions interviews are individual, although being invited to a group interview is also possible. Every school admissions process is different. The objective of a group interview is for the school to save time and study how you interact with other people at the same time. Interrupting others or talking too much or too little are behavioral patterns that can say a lot about a person.
7. Do I need to introduce myself during the interview?
Yes. As you are politely greeting the interviewer, you can state your full name.
8. What should I do after the interview?
The only thing left to do after your college admissions interview is to wait. Sending a thank you letter within 24-48 hours after your interview will be a nice detail. The admissions committee will get back to you as soon as they’ve reached a decision, so be patient!
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