The college admissions interview is undoubtedly an insightful experience for all college-bound students, and for international applicants, it offers several specific advantages. Exploring a college from another country can seem difficult or outright impossible, but the admissions interview—whether conducted in person or via Skype—is your opportunity to do just that. Furthermore, you can create advocates for your application, and form contacts within the college community. Consider these tips for navigating the college admissions interview as an international student:
Conduct mock interviews with English speakers
While an admissions interview is not an English language exam, it can provide the school with a glimpse of your English language abilities. For this reason, you should prepare well in advance. Prior to your college admissions interview, jot down answers to commonly asked questions, which you can easily find online. Then, ask an English teacher or an advanced English speaker to review your answers with you, and to practice the overall interviewing process several times.
By conducting a mock interview, not only are you allowing yourself to practice fluid and coherent responses, you are also alleviating any nerves by building a compelling personal narrative. (And a stellar interview can reinforce a strong Test of English as a Foreign Language [TOEFL] score, or help to lessen the negative impact of a low mark.) When it is finally time for you to meet with the college admissions officer, you will appreciate the preparation and likely feel more relaxed throughout the interview.
Establish a connection to the college
Like most students, you have probably browsed a prospective school’s website several times. Take a moment to identify those academic opportunities (including majors), extracurricular activities, and aspects of campus life that interest you most, and then research their connections to groups and classes on campus and within the community. Finally, mention these findings in your admissions interview to demonstrate that you have a keen interest in the college, and that you have already envisioned yourself there.
Focus on what makes you unique
Having an individual who advocates for your potential as a student is a true advantage. A positive recommendation from your interviewer can set you apart from other applicants, and a successful admissions interview can add dimension to the claims you make in your application. So, be sure to integrate your authentic self with your high-performing self. Think about what makes you unique, and then highlight these details.
Prepare questions of your own
While it may seem counter-intuitive, it is important to prepare several questions for your interviewer, in order to show him or her your passion for the school. In fact, your interviewer will most likely ask you outright if you have any questions. Your questions should illustrate that you have already envisioned yourself as a student at that college, and that you aspire to make meaningful contributions to the campus culture.
If you view your interview as an opportunity to construct a strong platform for admission, you may well receive that coveted acceptance letter. Consider these tips for navigating your college admissions interview, and look forward to success!
Sasa Afredi is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.