US colleges emphasize a holistic approach to admissions, meaning that they are trying to look at applicants as more than just GPAs and standardized test scores. In addition to application essays and letters of recommendations, some colleges also require (or suggest) that students sit for an interview. The interview is an important part of the holistic admissions process. In this article, our advisors and private tutors in Hong Kong provide tips on how to make the most of this opportunity.
1. If offered an interview, take it!
This advice may sound obvious, but many universities don’t actually require interviews – they only suggest them. By agreeing to an interview, you will have an immediate advantage over other applicants who have declined the opportunity.
2. Use the interview to highlight your personality and interest
The college interview is NOT a good time to list out your resume or remind the interviewer of your SAT and ACT scores. The interviewer is likely more interested in what motivates you as a person. Use this time to show your enthusiasm for your interests or intended major, but make sure it comes across in a natural, unforced way.
3. Demonstrate how the university’s culture suits you
Some colleges actually use the interview as a way of gauging whether or not you would fit into the university culture. Before attending the interview, research about student clubs, organisations, and the general vibe on campus. Be sure to highlight how you could see yourself thriving at that particular university.
4. Prepare for commonly asked interview questions
Whilst every interview is different, there are some common questions that are more likely than not to show up. A list of common college interview questions can be found here. Take a look at these interview questions in advance and take some time to think about how best to respond to them. If you want to do more prep, get an advisor or private tutor in Hong Kong who can help you practise how to address the interview questions.
5. Prepare your own questions in advance
The college interview is more like a conversation than a one-way Q&A session. The interviewer will expect you to ask him/her questions, as well. Try to choose questions that show genuine interest and curiosity about the school. The college interview is also a time for you to learn more about the school to determine if you’d be happy attending there for four years. Don’t waste this opportunity to gather information for your own decision making purposes.
6. Extra help
If you find the process of interview preparation difficult and would like some guidance on brainstorming and structuring possible answers, you can consider hiring a private tutor in Hong Kong who has the expertise to lead you through the process. You can also reach out to our advisors or IB tutors who can explain to you how to ace interview questions while acing the exam.
Ultimately, don’t overstress about the college interview. For many colleges, the interview is the least important part of the application. The most important thing is to be calm, and treat it like a normal, yet informative, conversation.