College interviews usually take one of two different formats, depending on the interviewer. One format is for the interviewer to ask the kid what questions he/she has about the school, and then to ask the kid what he/she wants them to write on the interview form that didn't fit on the application forms. The second format is a more formal process where the interviewer asks canned questions and leaves little room for the applicant to volunteer information.
Usually, older interviewers use the formal system, while younger alumni tend to conduct
The first half of the informal interview usually gives the applicant the following information:
1. Answer the applicant's questions
2. What the applicant needs to take (while in high school) to make her/him eligible to apply.
3. The core requirements for graduation for their college
4. Possible majors at the college.
5. What makes the college unique
6. Housing, clubs, research, city environment, etc.
For the second section of the informal interview, interviewers generally try to elicit the following types of information from the student:
1. What does the applicant do in his/her spare time? Be specific, don't just list a bunch of stuff. Does s/he have leadership positions and what exactly does s/he do for them?
2. Is there any special situation pertaining to the applicant's high school, family or community that the college should know about?
3. What sets this applicant apart from other applicants in the area?
4. Does this student seem interesting and a good match for the college?
5. What does the student find interesting and fun?
6. How has the student gone beyond the basics in his education?
7. Does s/he seem mature and confident, and able to handle herself/himself in an unfamiliar situation?
8. Is this the type of student you'd want to have as your roommate (or be the roommate for your son or daughter)?
The second type of interview - the formal interview - usually asks the applicant formal questions like these:
1. What is your favorite book and why?
2. What was your favorite class in school and why?
3. Give an example of a difficult situation you found yourself in. What did you do?
4. If you could be a famous person in history, whose shoes would you step into?
5. What hobbies or special talents do you have?
6. Describe your role in student government.
7. What did you do last summer?
8. Tell me about your job.
9. Why are you applying to my college?
10. What do you want to major in and why?
11. What is your favorite extracurricular activity and why?
12. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
13. Who or what have had the greatest influence on your life?
Turn in your application part 1 early - so you will have the opportunity for an alumni interview. You don't need to wear a suit and tie, but don't wear an old pair of ratty jeans and a torn sweatshirt, either. Read about the school before going and prepare a written list of questions. Relax and enjoy yourself.
After the interview is over, the interviewer has to fill out a form. Every school is looking for something different, but here are some typical headings that the interviewer will be responding to: jobs, clubs, hobbies or other outside activities; personal qualities, potential to be a good match, socio-economic background / diversity, uniqueness.
[ Return to selective college page ]