To tackle the “what would you contribute to your future college campus community” college interview question, you need to prepare well in advance. This is one of the most common college admissions interview questions, and it’s prevalent for a reason. With the world of college admissions being more competitive than ever, most four-year colleges and universities have a holistic admissions process. This doesn’t mean that having a competitive GPA, taking IB and AP courses, and having relevant extracurriculars won’t strengthen your application. Instead, it means that your college essay and interview skills play a significant role in the admissions process because they are the application components that tell the admissions board about the person behind the application. In this blog, we’ll let you know everything you need to know about this popular college interview question, why it is often asked, how to answer it, and we’ll share a sample answer with you to help you prepare.
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What is the purpose of the “How will you contribute to your future college campus community” college interview question?
Similar to the “tell me about yourself” college interview question, when interviewers ask, “What would you contribute to your future college campus community”, they are trying to find out what you bring to the table. You’ve probably already thought about what your chosen program and the school you’ve applied to will contribute to your life. Maybe you have plans of owning your own business someday, so you’ve decided to apply to one of the best undergraduate business schools because you know it will give you the knowledge and know-how needed to achieve your goal. Well, the institution that you’re hoping to attend has goals of its own, and they want to make sure that you can contribute something to them. The school’s goal will be different from yours, of course. Maybe they aim to provide their students with as many diverse perspectives as possible. Maybe they are a community-focused college and are looking for applicants who want to actively participate in the different groups they have on campus. Whatever the case is, your answer to this question will tell them what you have to offer as a candidate and whether or not it aligns with what they’re looking for. In other words, a solid answer to this question should tell the admissions officer that you are not only suitable for their college but that you are also going to have a positive impact on your college campus community. We know it sounds like a lot but don’t worry, we’re going to tell you how you can craft a response that does precisely that!
How to best answer “How will you contribute to your future college campus community?”
To answer this very common college admissions interview question, you need to start thinking of what to say well in advance. There is actually no right or wrong answer to this question because of its personal nature. However, there are weaker and stronger answers. A weak answer would be something generic, that will apply to 90% of the other applicants. Or something that is not related to the school at all. For example, a response that focuses on your basketball talent when the school that you’re applying to does not have a basketball team. In contrast, a strong response will focus on one of your interests, passions, experiences, or background, and how they can make the campus community a better place for those around you.
Your answer can be either memorable or forgettable, and the aim is to make sure that your response falls in the former category. To do that, we suggest that you follow this three-step strategy: Research, Reflect and Rehearse.
In order to know what you can contribute to a college campus community; you need to know as much as possible about that college campus community. A great place to start is the school's website. Look at their mission statement and what they say about their campus community. The school's description will give you a good idea of the institution's philosophy, the qualities they look for in a candidate, and the kind of environment they seek to foster. We suggest looking for keywords that seem to come up repeatedly and thinking about what they might mean for the school. For example, let's take a look at one of the easiest Ivy schools to get into, Brown university, their mission statements and campus descriptions, and what they tell us about the school.
You can find a lot of information about what a school is looking for on their website, and it's pretty easy to find. So take the time to visit the school's website, look at their about section, their campus life page, and so on. Keep track of the words that keep coming up and recurring themes, as these will tell you about the school's core values. Mentioning how your values and skills align with those of your chosen college will help you make an excellent impression.
If you still need to write a college essay, you'll want to check out this helpful video:
Once you've identified the college's core values and qualities that they wish to foster, it is time to reflect on your motivations, passions, and talents; and how they are compatible with the school, you are applying to. Think about your reasons for choosing this particular campus and, most importantly, what you can bring to it. You most likely had to start thinking about this as you were preparing to write your common app essay or if you were asked to write your own letter of recommendation. So if you have notes that you used to prepare those application components, refer back to them. Additionally, it would help if you asked yourself the following questions:
First, let's be clear, we are not saying that you should write out your answer in advance and keep practicing it until you memorize it. That would be counterproductive. Instead, we suggest that you make a list of everything you want to cover in your answer and the structure you want your response to follow so that you can use it to rehearse. Practicing your answer will help you identify the issues in your response and allow you to work on them and improve your overall answer.
Ideally, your response should be about two minutes long. If your answer is too long, you may lose the interviewer's attention, but if your answer is too short, it may not be as informative as it could be, or it could come across as uninterested. While rehearsing, you should try to time yourself so that you can find out if you need to cut anything from your answer or if you need to add a little bit more information.
You may also want to consider working with a college advisor to maximize your chances of acing your college admissions interview. They can assist you by conducting realistic mock interviews, providing personalized feedback, and giving you additional tips and strategies that will go a long way towards making you feel more comfortable in the interview.
Interested in a summary of some of the key points highlighted above? This infographic is for you:
“How will you contribute to your future college campus community?” sample answers
“How will you contribute to your future college campus community?” sample answer #1
One of the main reasons I chose to apply to X university is that the campus has students and faculty members of all nationalities and backgrounds. Growing up in a remote small town, I wasn't exposed to many different points of view or cultures. I love many things about the community that I grew up in, but it took me getting out of it to realize that I had been surrounded by people who looked and thought exactly like me for most of my life.
That all changed when I was fourteen, and my mom was offered a position at a hospital in Toronto. Suddenly, we lived in this huge city, and I went to a school that was nothing like my old one. I remember feeling like I was discovering a new world during those first few weeks. I had classmates and neighbors who spoke different languages, teachers who encouraged me to question the status quo, and access to a whole lot of good food from all over the world. I believe that adapting to that new environment and being exposed to people from so many different backgrounds made me become a more independent thinker.
I have since then developed a love for traveling, exploring, and discovering new cultures. I have visited seven different countries, and I am hoping to travel some more during my summer breaks. I think that I have a unique perspective because of the way I grew up and the fact that I have been lucky enough to see so much of the world at my young age.
X university is an institution that encourages free thinking and open dialogue, so I am looking forward to having conversations with people who are actually interested in learning about a perspective different from their own and sharing their own unique points of view. My hope is that we will be able to learn from each other and grow.
“How will you contribute to your future college campus community?” sample answer #2
I have always been very community-oriented. I believe that it comes from growing up in a small town. I come from a tiny town in Napa where we all pretty much know each other, and coming together is just a way of life. For example, my family and I would have our usual celebration during the holidays. Then, we also had to show up for the town Christmas dinner, which was put together by different members of the community.
That kind of thinking applies to my town in times of celebration, but also in times of hardship or even just regular day-to-day life. The community I grew up in has taught me that we all have a part to play in making life better for those around us. That's why I appreciate the fact that there are so many student-led initiatives on the campus of X university.
Back home, we have so many committees responsible for various things in the town, and I am a proud member of two of them: the green initiative and the event's planning committee. I noticed that X university also has a green chapter as part of its student union, and I would love to be a part of helping them make the X university campus more environmentally friendly.
With the end of my senior year fast approaching, I know that I will have to leave my small town and all its lovely people behind for some time, but I am not willing to let go of the values they've taught me. I've seen many of them echoed in the materials that I've read about campus life at X university. So I look forward to joining the other students who have come together and are improving life on campus for everybody.
If you want to come up with a great answer to the “How will you contribute to your future college campus community?” college interview question, you will need to prepare your answer well in advance. You should take the time to research the institution, figure out exactly what they look for in applicants and the values reflected in their campus community. You should then think about how you fit into that community, what you can contribute, and make sure your answer emphasizes those skills and qualities in a genuine, concise, and memorable way.
1. Why do college interviewers ask, "what would you contribute to your future college campus community"?
Interviewers want to know what you have to offer as an applicant. Your response to this question will tell them if you'll be able to impact your campus community positively.
2. How long should my answer to "what would you contribute to your future college campus community" be?
You should keep your answer between one and three minutes. Ideally, it should be around the two-minute mark to ensure you don't lose the interviewer's attention.
3. How should I prepare my response to this question?
To come up with a strong response, you should research the school you've applied to, reflect on the school's core values and how they align with yours, then rehearse your answer so that you can perfect it.
4. How can I find out what the college is looking for in a candidate?
You should look at the school's mission statement and spend time on the school's website. Pay attention to keywords that keep coming up on different pages and recurring themes. These will usually tell you what value, qualities, and skills the school cares about.
5. Can I talk about my knowledge and academic prowess in my answer to "what would you contribute to your future college campus community"?
We don't recommend that you do this. The interviewer already has the details of your academic background, so they know that you are smart. Your answer to this question should tell the admissions board how you will enhance the college experience for your peers, teachers, and others around you during your university years.
6. When should I start preparing my response?
You should give yourself enough time to research the school and craft a response that stands out. We suggest that you start preparing your answers to interview questions as soon as you send out your application. Don't wait for the interview invitation to come as you might not have enough time to prepare.
7. How important are college admissions interviews?
College interviews carry a lot of weight. Most four-year colleges have a holistic admissions process, so they care about your academic background, but they also care about who you are as a person. The college interview allows them to get to know you and decide if you are a good fit for their school.
8. Who can help me come up with a strong response to this question?
If you'd like some help coming up with an answer, you should consider investing in college admissions consulting. Consultants can help you with many different aspects of your application, including coming up with solid responses to tricky interview questions like this one.
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