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Need help with college interviews

  1. Oct 22, 2004 #1
    Hi everyone:
    I am now a high school student, and am going to have a college interview next week. This will be the first interview in my whole life, and I am EXTREMELY nervous......Since that university is my first choice, I do not want to screw it up...any advice or tips for my first college interview ? Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2004 #2
    Calm down. Relax. Be comfortable.
  4. Oct 23, 2004 #3
    Its normal to be nervous in these situations. The interviewer will probably take it as a sign that you are serious about studying at their university, which is good. Bear in mind that some people make a point of pyching themselves up & getting pumped on adrenaline before interviews, as it helps them to come across as more energetic.

    It sounds like you are pinning all your hopes on this one uni. Do you have any other universities in mind? If you view this interview as just one of two or more options you will feel a lot more relaxed.

    Standard stuff:
    1/ don't drink coffee etc before the interview, even if you haven't slept that well, as it just jangles the nerves.
    2/ Start expecting that the interview will go well. Sit down with your eyes closed and imagine going through the interview and it being really good e.g. the interviewer really likes you, and you feel surprisingly at home in the situation. Do this once or twice daily for 5 or 10 mins.
    3/ Don't introduce yourself as Mr Antelope unless you are Native American.

    Good luck :) Let us know how you got on.
  5. Oct 23, 2004 #4
    Yes, I do have other alternatives. I planned to apply to several "push" universities, some "fit"s, and some "safeties". The coming interview is one of my "push" uni, so, it is not my ONLY chance. But it is still important to me, it would be REALLY GREAT for me if I get the chance to go to this university.

    Thanks a lot! This really makes me relax a bit. heehee. By the way, I am Ms. Antelope, not Mr. :wink: :p haha.
  6. Oct 23, 2004 #5
    Hi Ms.Antelope.
    I am having an interview next week as well.
    I always imagine myself interviewed many times before D-day.In shower,bus etc ,I think about what Qs he may ask and how I could reply.
    Hope it helps.
    Best of Luck for your Interview.
  7. Oct 23, 2004 #6
    Some of the coolest things that have happened in my life have been the result of chance, 4th choices, missing the bus etc.

    All the more reason not to introduce yourself as Mr Antelope :smile: I can just see you now, leaping around majestically during the interview, pausing only to chew some shrubbery. They're gonna love ya, kid. What are you going to be studying?
  8. Oct 23, 2004 #7


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    Be prepared to answer some of the most obvious questions:
    Why do you want to attend our university?
    What are some of your interests?

    Think of some good questions to ask the interviewer too. For example, if you're interested in a particular extracurricular activity, you could ask about whether that's offered at the school, how many students are usually involved, etc. Or, if you already have an idea about the major you're interested in, look up some of the course requirements, and ask about those classes. For example, if you want to major in physics, ask how large are the typical general physics lectures, how many students typically start out in that major, how many graduate in that major.

    My experience from interviewing students is that I understand their nervousness, but if the entire interview has me asking them questions and them giving me two word answers then waiting for the next question, I'm not going to be overly impressed. If, instead, I ask a question and I see a spark of excitement when the student answers the question and that leads to them relaying some interesting story about the topic, often the interview becomes more of a conversation than question/answer. Those students usually fare better with me. Every interviewer is different, but I've found that even with different styles, it's rare that interviewers will rank students dramatically differently.

    Some other little things to keep in mind...look at the interviewer when answering questions, not down at the floor. You don't have to stare down the interviewer, but make eye contact to show your sincerity. Sit up straight, no slouching or sinking back into the chair. If you have any nervous habits, be mindful of those...if you pick or bite at your fingernails, or wring your hands, or chew on pens or fiddle with anything you're holding, it won't look good during the interview. Speak clearly and enunciate all your words so the interviewer can hear and understand you. Dress neatly, and avoid excessive jewelry or make-up unless you're applying for an arts degree (we're getting more used to seeing our students with black fingernails and piercings on every surface of their body, but it can be distracting during an interview...most interviewers can see past all that, but some can't).

    Just before you walk in, take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that your application must be pretty good to get as far as an interview, the interviewer just wants to learn more about you, not attack you, and put a smile on your face. Give a firm handshake when you greet the interviewer and when you leave, look them in the eye and tell them how glad you are to be invited for the interview, and when you leave, express that you enjoyed meeting them and thank them for the interview. If your palms get all sweaty during the interview, as it gets to the end, remember to open your hand and relax a bit, and a subtle swipe of your hand on your pants or skirt, in the guise of straightening your clothes as you stand up, will assure you don't give the interviewer a sweaty handshake...though, a sweaty handshake is better than none at all if you are doubtful about that. They will understand you are nervous.

    Good luck!
  9. Oct 23, 2004 #8


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    While consolation will probably not be needed in your case, I will point out that Isaac Asimov, the prolific author, did poorly in his college interview, and pretty much knew that the college was going to reject him--which in fact happened. His day was brightened by a chance meeting with Albert Einstein hours later at a museum in New York City.
  10. Oct 23, 2004 #9
    Yeah....what Moonbear said....and basically stay relaxed...have good eye contact, be friendly and I'm sure you'll do fine. :-D
  11. Oct 23, 2004 #10


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    It might help to do a little research about the Uni itself - what it's good for/what it prides itself in, etc.
  12. Oct 23, 2004 #11
    well, i think im going to study in the field of engineering, though im not sure which specific engineering...i think im gonna find out in uni. :smile:
  13. Oct 23, 2004 #12
    Thanks for all your help!!
    Um, another question though. I think I have one more problem than normal people--Language. This make me quite nervous. Although I am a US citizen, I have grown up abroad. I am not a native English speaker, and this uni in the US has its alumni all over the world to conduct interviews. So, my interview next week is going to be in another country, not US. I think there are two main reasons that make me really nervous, one is language, the other is that i am a shy person. Although my English is getting better because i am studying in a international school, i am still not comfortable when i speak Eng. And I am a really shy person, it would be hard for me to conquer my shyness and have long conversations with the interviewer. But, after reading all the advices you guys posted, I think I can do better. God bless Ms. Antelope! :rolleyes:
  14. Oct 26, 2004 #13
    Hi everyone~
    I am recently preparing for my interview which will be conducted on the day after tomorrow...and I faced a problem. My teacher told me that usually the interviewer will ask questoins like "What is you favorite course? And why?"...I have always known that my favorite course is science, or to be more specific, physics. But it is the next question that I find it difficult to answer. I have thought over this question, but I still dont know why i like science...

    I have come up with an answer to this question "Why I like science?". And I think it is my true feeling towards this course. Could you guys please have a look at my answer and tell me whether it is too corny or not, because I hope i can make a sincere impression to my interviewer.
    Science is one of the important gateways for us to enrich our knowledge, and it is closely related to our life. Applications of science can greatly improve our life and bring us many conveniences. I always feel great satisfaction when I understand the theories of physics, and feel surprised at its closeness to me which i never noticed before. Maybe it is this feeling that make this course so attractive to me.
  15. Oct 26, 2004 #14
    1/ Sounds good. You can afford to be a bit more humble on your understanding of the theories of physics, after all you are going to university to learn this stuff (if you knew all about it already there would be no need to go!).

    2/ Related to this, it sounds as if you like the challange of learning about these things, and the 'aha' moment of understanding. If this is the case, say so.

    3/ Explain a bit more what you mean about the "closeness".

    4/ Give some idea of what you would like to do for a living afterwards, or perhaps whether you would like to do some postgrad work e.g. PhD.

    5/ Tell them you like to chat to your interesting friends at PF about all sorts of brainy stuff.

    Best of luck with the interview, Ms Antelope! Lets us know how you got on.
  16. Oct 28, 2004 #15
    Hey guys...I have finished my interview...it was quite good, i think. The interview lasted for one hour, which is longer than i thought, but I answered most of the questions very well. my interviewer was nice and always with that smile on his face and always looking at me. I was quite nervous, but after all it was really a good experience. Thanks for your helps!!!
  17. Oct 29, 2004 #16
    :rofl: Heeyyyyy!!!! :rofl: Well done!!!

    Always remember this interview i.e. how you prepared for it, and how you felt nervous but it turned out well in the end. Way to go, Leaping (if I may call you by your first name). Many happy returns.
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