On Your College Quest-ions
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While some students have been fortunate enough to receive college acceptance letters, there is another population of students who are still waiting on their decisions. Some among this group include students who have applied to private schools and are still waiting to participate in one more part of the application process before admission decisions can be made — the dreaded interview process.
- Become a fortune-teller.
One of the easiest things you can do to prepare for an interview is to look up possible interview questions prior to your interview date. I am not telling you to memorize every question you see after a quick Google search. Simply know what to expect. The worst you could do at an interview is to walk in unprepared.
Generally, your interviewer will ask questions about you, your interests, extracurricular activities, etc. Because these questions are very specific, you never know what type of personal question an interviewer might have prepared for you. Thus, you should become acquainted with some typical (and maybe not so typical questions) that you might be asked. BPHS senior, Jesus Aguilar, who interviewed with Princeton University and Brown University, also advises individuals to research the school itself before going to the interview, because some questions will most likely be about the school.
“I spent my entire weekend looking at the school’s website, looking for any information that will help me stand out as an interviewee such as the programs, history of the school, and the atmosphere of the school itself,” explained Aguilar.
- Let the conversation flow.
Sometimes, during these interviews, you might find that you’ve hit a lull in the discussion. Don’t worry; in these situations, you are not always at fault. Often, your interviewer will be an alumni from the prospective school and are not professional interviewers. At certain times, they might not know the direction of conversation that they should take, so you, as the interviewee, should take initiative and introduce your own topics of discussion.
Once again, do not feel pressured to rehearse a speech on your favorite hobby, but simply be prepared to talk about something that interests you. Introducing your own topics not only shows initiative but also gives you a chance to showcase some part of yourself that you would not have a chance to show otherwise.
“Most interviewers are really nice and accommodating, but it’s possible you could get a bad interviewer,” commented Ann Mariel Pacada, a BPHS senior who interviewed with Brown University and Hamilton College. “You don’t really get a say, but you do have control on how the interview goes. You typically direct the conversation, so just talk about things that you find interesting.”
- Yes, I actually do have a question…
Once you’ve had the chance to thoroughly get to know your interviewer and yourself at a different level, interviewers will typically ask if you have any questions for them. At this point of the conversation, feel free to let loose and not hold back. Be honest with what type of questions you have. Asking questions not only provides you with an answer you were probably curious about but also shows a deeper interest you have in the school. However, try to stay away from questions that you can find the answer to through a simple Google search. Reminder: interviewers are typically alumni from the prospective school. They had the opportunity to spend part of their life at the school that interests you. Ask questions about their experiences. Where did you hang out when classes weren’t in session? What was your favorite class during your freshman year? How is the food at the dining halls? Ask questions that will help you learn more about the school because, just as the school is attempting to learn more about you to decide if you’re right for it, you too need to learn more about the school to see if it’s right for you.
- The most overrated advice
The word starts with a P and ends in -ractice. Seriously. Wendy Wong, BPHS senior who interviewed with Dartmouth College and University of Pennsylvania, emphasized how important it is to prepare for the interview.
“The hardest part for me was trying to be confident with a complete stranger, who essentially plays a role in your future,” admitted Wong. “So, I would advise to work on and perfect an elevator story (your life story in 30 seconds).”
Whether it is an elevator story or generic practice questions, you should practice answering questions with friends and family to familiarize yourself with the interview mood and atmosphere. The best way you can prepare for an interview is by making sure you have something to say on your interview day. Work with your friends and family to see how well you can convey this thing you would like to say.
Do your research, practice, and be yourself. Realize that the interview process isn’t meant to deter you but is meant to give colleges another chance to know you better. With this knowledge and the advice from fellow Braves, you will hopefully be able to have a great interview experience.