Dear Teacher

Nailing the college admissions interview

By MARGE EBERTS

and PEGGY GISLER

Question: My son has a college admissions interview scheduled. What are some questions he should anticipate answering?

— Be Prepared

Answer: No matter how personable your son is, it is quite important that he think about questions that the interviewer is likely to ask so he will be able to provide thoughtful answers, as interviews are a part of the admissions process.

Most interviewers usually ask similar questions. They also know that no matter how intelligent students are they will be a little intimidated and scared just walking into the interview room. Many help potential students relax by asking a question like “What are you interested in studying in college?” Your son definitely wants to answer the question strongly and not have any hesitations about his goals.

Students being interviewed are usually not prepared to answer a negative question that can take their breath away for a minute or so. The question could be something like “What’s the most negative experience you ever had in your life?” Your son needs to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer. The interviewer is looking for an honest answer. This is letting the interviewer see if your son can express himself when talking about something negative that happened to him. Your son should conclude the answer to that question by telling what he learned from the situation to end his answer on a positive note.

“What do you do when you’re not in school?” Your son needs to answer this question by spelling out how focused he is on one activity or his interest in a variety of activities. There is, again, no right or wrong answer. Enthusiasm for what he is doing is important.

Since reading is essential to being successful in college, one question is likely to be “What have you read recently?” The interviewers are looking to find out about the student’s intellectual curiosity. They want to see if he is reading serious material, not online blogs of his friends. Your son should definitely be prepared to answer this question as well as ones about cultural events that he has attended recently.

Other questions that your son needs to be prepared to answer include:

∫ Can you tell me about yourself?

∫ Why are you interested in this school?

∫ What do you want to major in?

∫ What are your academic strengths?

∫ What are your academic weaknesses?

∫ How will you contribute to our school?

∫ Where do you plan to be 10 years from now?

∫ What did you find challenging during high school?

∫ Does your high school record accurately reflect your effort and ability?

∫ What volunteer work have you done in your community?

∫ What would you do differently now looking back on your years in high school?

∫ Who is someone you admire?

∫ What is your favorite book and why?

∫ What is a challenge that you faced, and how did you overcome the challenge?

∫ What do you do for fun?

∫ What makes you unique?

∫ Who in your life has had the most influence on you?

Your son should also think of one or more questions to ask the interviewer about the school.

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