Your palms are sweating. Your throat is dry. You are sitting in an admissions office waiting for your turn to be interviewed by someone from the college you are intent on attending. You’ve heard all the horror stories and you’ve prepared as best you could for the questions that will be asked. You know that this interview is an important part of the admissions process and it could contribute to the college’s final decision.

Here are three things you need to remember before you walk in to the admissions office:

1. Be Yourself

The admissions officer is not looking for the person you wish you could be or the person you think they want to see. They want to get to know you and get a feel for how you will fit in to their college population. Being yourself benefits you and the colleges by helping both of you get to know one another and find that perfect fit. You do yourself and the college a disservice by pretending to be someone other than who you are. It’s a bad way to begin your college career and a poor example to set in an interview.

2. Take some time to prepare

Don’t walk into a college interview unprepared. Research some of the common questions asked and think about how you would answer them. Know a little about the college and be prepared to tell the admissions officer why you are interested in attending their college. If you’re excited about attending, they will be excited about offering you admission. Every college wants students who want to be there and who know how they will fit in to their campus. If you show little motivation, they will show little interest.

3. Remember that you are also conducting an interview

Colleges are not the only ones conducting the interview. You are interviewing them to find out whether or not you would feel comfortable attending there. Prepare some questions in advance; but don’t ask questions that can be found on the website or in the admissions literature. Admissions officers welcome questions that communicate an interest in their college and a willingness to learn more about their specific academic programs. Don’t just sit there and answer “yes” and “no” to their questions without having a conversation. It’s your opportunity to get to know them as well as theirs to get to know you.

The college admissions interview communicates that you are interested in attending and gives the colleges an opportunity to get to know you by putting a face with a name. When decision time comes around, colleges will remember your interest and the interview could very well put your name above someone who didn’t take the time to schedule one.

Have you participated in a college interview? Was it a positive experience? What types of questions did you ask?

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