Some colleges require an interview as part of the admissions process. This interview might be with an admissions professional or a designated alumnus. Other colleges encourage prospective students to arrange an on-campus interview. At some colleges, interviews are optional and have little influence in the admissions process. In any case, an applicant always wants the interview to be a good experience and a positive aspect of the admissions profile.
The following are some things to keep in mind when preparing for an interview:
- Be yourself. Like an essay, the purpose of the interview is to get to know you—not who you think they want you to be. Answer questions honestly, wear comfortable but neat clothes, show your tasteful sense of humor, etc.
- Be assertive. Be sure to mention all you have done in and out of school. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself. If you don't, no one will.
- Be prepared. Know as much as you can about the college. Read through the catalog and brochures before you interview.
- Prepare questions. Think of things you really want to know about the college and don't be afraid to ask. DO NOT ask very basic factual questions in the interview to which you can find the answers in the catalog.
- Get to know the interviewer. Don't hesitate to ask the interviewer about him/herself. Did he or she go to the college? What does he or she think the strongest quality of the college is?
- Match yourself to the college. If there are characteristics about the college that you are especially interested and qualified, emphasize this in the interview. For example, if the school has a strong wilderness program and you have been active in MA's Outings program, talk about this and ask some insightful questions.
- Relax. The purpose of the interview is to have a conversation. The more natural that conversation is, the more productive the interview will be.