College Admissions and entrance exams season in on the go again. However, most of the colleges nowadays conduct elaborate and extensive screening process by taking interview of interested candidates. Though you must have taken and cleared many examinations by now, you might not have got many opportunities to face interview and so that will be the tricky part of the admission process for many of you. So here we are with a detailed guide for cracking college interviews successfully.
8 Tips to Crack College Interviews:
1. Know the college your are applying to
Know Your College!!
A pre-requisite to have a smooth interview is to have a thorough knowledge about the college you are applying to. You just can’t sit in front of the interviewers without knowing what actually made you apply to college, what the college has to offer, what has been its legacy and all that things.
You may use these pointer while researching about the college:
- When and why was the college established? What does it tries to achieve and who started it or laid the foundation stone?
- What is the curriculum of the course you are applying to? How does it match with your interests?
- What did you find unique about the college that made you choose it over the others? Basically what according to you is the USP of the college?
- Who are some of the notable alumni of the college?
- If possible, also research about the extra-curricular, clubs and committees of the concerned college. This shows how interested you are in the college itself.
These pointers may help you to get a good impression on the interviewers. Also, these may help you frame other questions also like why do you want to pursue a particular course. So be thorough with the details.
2. Be thorough with your CV
A mistake many people commit which you surely can’t afford if you want to crack college interviews is to not properly know what you have written on your CV. The CV speaks a ton about you and the interviewers are always keen to know whether what you have presented in your CV is genuine or not.
So becoming self aware is of utmost importance. Go through your CV again and again. Also don’t put anything which you son’t mean or don’t know about. Because there is no point in bluffing. The panelists are smart enough to catch you at the slightest fake.
Another point to remember while preparing your CV is that you ought to have story about each and everything you write about in the CV. So for instance, your academics aren’t good, in such a case you should have a proper reason. Your strengths should have stories about how you developed them and your weakness should have a story about how you are working to change them.
3. Practice some specific questions
There are a few basic questions you can probably count on hearing: Why do you want to go to this college? What do you expect to gain from college? Why did you opt for this course? What is your greatest strength and weakness? You can completely direct the course of the interview by answering smartly. For example, if you are asked about your favourite sport, it’s very likely that the interviewer will further ask you about some famous sportsman from the same game. Make sure you read up in advance. You don’t need to memorise your answers, but think through the issues ahead of time so you’ll have some ideas to discuss.
Giving prepared (but not mugged-up) answers will show that you are serious and dedicated towards getting into the college and will also show your communication skills in a better light.
There are four categories of questions that college interviewers usually ask:
- questions to understand how you and your college are a match for each other
- questions to know your personality and character traits
- questions to understand your interests and goals
- thought provoking questions, perhaps from academics
Practice possible interview questions with a friend or family member. They can help point out any nervous gestures or finicky moves, which might come across as unprofessional to the interviewer
Be thorough and particular with what you write in your CV. You should be able to explain the details given in your CV and justify them
Don’t stutter or mumble when giving the answers. Speak clearly and lucidly
4. Dress appropriately
Wear Formals !!
When it comes to your college interview, dress for success. Wear conservative formal wear, make sure your outfit is not very revealing. Don’t be overdressed or wear too much perfume either. If you’re still unsure about what’s appropriate to wear, contact the college’s admissions office to get more information.
Make a good first impression. While dressing, aim for a business casual style. Since this is not a job interview, you do not need to be over professional, but you must come across as smart, confident, neat and clean, and put together
Moreover, selecting what you wear should also depend on the course you are applying for. While a B-school interview may call for polished, western formals, you might do better choosing innovative designs and good fabrics when appearing for a fashion course interview.
5. Display a Positive Body Language
It’s quite common to be nervous during the interview. Avoid shaking your legs constantly; biting your nails or playing with your hair, it may distract your interviewer away from your answers. Body language includes slouching too. You want to be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you relax in your chair.
Remember your first impression is your last impression and you don’t want to spoil it. Be confident and positive but don’t look arrogant. Try to have a smile on your face as this eases the interview process for both you and the interviewers but don’t try to fake it.
When you enter the interview room, first ask for permission to enter and then walk confidently to the chair and have a seat. Thank them whenever required.
6. Be yourself, but be your best self
As you share your strengths and accomplishments, remember to be honest. Don’t elaborate or lie about your strengths or list too many weaknesses. For example, if you’ve only taken a few French classes, don’t say you’re fluent! Your interviewer could actually be fluent and ask your next question in French.
You might be cross-questioned by interviewers to check your confidence and how honest you are with your answers
Don’t get shaken if you get called out for what you think is a correct answer. Stick to your ground if you know you are right
If you are unsure, it’s best to be honest about it rather than fumble on counter questions
Don’t be afraid to give your own opinions on different issues. As long as you can convincingly support your statement, there is no right or wrong answer
7. Brush Up your concepts
Revise Important Concepts !!
In case of college interviews, there aren’t many questions that the interviewer can ask. Therefore what generally happens is a round of subject based questions to check how interested you are in studying and how much do you understand.
So, before you go for the interview, pick up your school books a week before and just skim through the pages. Revise a few important topics as well.
Also, be prepared to be asked about your favorite subject. For this, you must select a subject you are most confident about. But don’t think that if they had asked for the favorite subject they would be asking questions from the same. Many a times the interviewers try to stress you by asking uneasy questions. So you might have to face some unexpected questions as well.
8. If you don’t Know, Accept it
As said in the last point, interviewers generally try to build stress on the candidate. For this they may ask some typical questions or cross question you again and again.
The key here is to remain calm. Even if you don’t know something, it isn’t a big problem. Afterall you aren’t expected to know everything. But in case you don’t remeber an answer, accept it politely by saying,”Sorry but I cannot recall this” or ” Sorry but I don’t have any idea”.
This candid acceptance shows your honesty, If you try to be smart and bluff by saying anything that comes to your mind, then you are doing harm to your own chances. It might happen that that the interviewers don’t tell you about how horribly you are answering and how wrong you are saying, just to see your true nature.
So, remember to be polite and honest.
What Are the Common Interview Questions?
There are three types of common interview questions: College-related questions, Personality-related questions, Hobbies/Goal-related questions.
1) Why do you want to study in our college?
2) What can you add to the campus culture of our college?
Answer: When you are asked college-related questions, it is your chance to talk about why you chose this particular college and why you think you will be a perfect fit in the campus. Talk about how the program you want to apply for gives you an opportunity to realize your goals and how your characteristics and extracurricular skills will make you gel well with others..
1) Tell me about yourself.
2) What are your strengths and weaknesses?
3) Describe one problem that troubled you and how you overcame it.
4) What three adjectives define you?
5) What are your views on racism/homosexuality/gun culture/etc.?
Answer: Ideally, answer these types of questions as honestly as possible as the interviewer assesses your personality through them. Try to describe yourself and your qualities in an interesting format. Don’t just talk about your strengths but also give them an example of how you used your strengths in real life situations. Similarly, talk about your weakness and how you handle it. Be aware of current events and have a strong opinion about the social and economic problems of the world.
Hobbies or Goal-related questions
1) What is your favorite book and why?
2) How do you spend your free time?
3) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Answer: This is your chance to show your fun side. Describe your goals and dreams in detail and make the interviewer believe in them. This is your opportunity to talk about your passions and your aim in life.
Bonus Tips for Acing the College Interview
- Follow formal dress code: Ideally, attend the interview wearing formals. Dressing up in casuals may it give off the vibe that you aren’t serious enough about the college.
- Know the whereabouts of the interview: Visit the campus at least a day in advance and check out the venue where the interview is going to take place to avoid any last minute hassles or confusion.
- Reach the venue 15 minutes early: Reach the venue at least 15 minutes in advance so that you have enough time to relax and calm yourself before the interview.
- Greet the interviewer with confidence: As soon as you come face to face with the interviewer, put on a cordial smile and greet the interviewer with confidence. First impressions go a long way!
- Be honest: Never pretend to be someone you’re not as it is extremely easy to catch one’s lies in a face-to-face interview. If you haven’t won awards and medals in sports or extracurricular activities, don’t boast about it for the sake of impressing the admission officer. More often than not, this trick will backfire.
- Give elaborate answers: The college interview is a chance for you to prove how different and unique you are from the rest of the lot. If you are just going to stick to yes or no answers, then the interviewer might form a negative impression about you. Utilize this opportunity to support your responses with relevant examples/anecdotes that showcase your best qualities.
The Bottom Line
Interviews be it college interviews can be very stressing. However, having a positive mindset and good preparation can ease your tensions. An interviewer wants you to do well in your interview, so remember to relax and enjoy the interview. Just keep these pointers in mind and you’re sure to ace every college interview you give. Head into the interview feeling confident and be prepared. You don’t need to lose sleep over your college interview – just follow the guidelines mentioned in the article and you’ll rock that interview!
Have any query? Post in the comments and we will get back to you!!