What Questions to Expect at a College Interview

Mark Fisher provides some practice questions students can use before they schedule a college interview.

My most recent Atlanta Jewish Times article highlighted the importance of college interviews, which can be required or optional for admissions or necessary for honors programs. In addition, some scholarship competitions require an interview.

Before reading the questions below, what are you going to do with them?

One obvious response is to practice answering the questions with a parent, friend, another adult, teacher or counselor. With my clients, we practice and practice and discuss possible answers and role-play with myself being the student and the student being the admissions official.

Ready for the possible questions? I can’t discuss all possible questions but can give you a heads-up.

“Welcome to our campus” is commonly an opening statement by the interviewer. You respond, “I am glad to be here at your fine college.”

Poor response! You are in the interview to sell yourself. Before you even go to the interview, choose five accomplishments you want to sell and why you are even interviewing at that college. Start talking about why you are interested in the college, using facts from your research about the school.

“Who Are You?” Questions

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Describe your high school.
  • What interests you about our college?
  • How did you find out about us?
  • What are your goals in the four years after high school graduation?

Academic Questions

  • Does your high school transcript reflect your academic ability?
  • Have there been any trends in your transcript since your freshman year?
  • What has been your academic strength?
  • Among your studies, what has been your favorite subject? Have you gone beyond the classroom assignments in that subject?
  • What has been your weakest subject area in high school?

“You as a Person” Questions

  • If you started high school all over again, what would you do differently?
  • What do you feel are your strengths as a person?
  • Name one of your heroes either now or from the past.
  • Who has been one of your role models while in high school?
  • How do you feel about political protests on campus?

Extracurricular Activities

  • What has been your most outstanding extracurricular activity?
  • Are you satisfied with your extracurricular accomplishments?
  • Do you plan to engage in that favorite activity when you get to college?
  • What have you learned about yourself from this activity?
  • Are you involved in athletics?

Community Activities

  • Are you involved in any community activities, such as a youth group?
  • Have you volunteered at any point?
  • Are you a member of an athletic team outside school?
  • What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in your community outside school?

General Questions

  • What books have you read beyond teacher assignments?
  • Do you have a favorite author?
  • How do you spend your leisure time?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • How do you help your family?
  • Do you use a lot of computer time with video games?
  • If you could meet any important figure in the past or present, who would it be, and what would you talk about?
  • What makes our college meet your needs, values and interests?
  • For what reasons do you think you are a competitive student for our university?
  • Are there any events that have been crucial in your life?

Students, are you somewhat comfortable in answering the questions in this article? Or are you in panic mode?

Remember to practice, practice, practice. This writer practices with clients until we get it right.