The college interview process can be daunting, but being prepared can make all the difference. To help you out, we've compiled a list of some common college interview questions. Whether you're interviewing for your dream school or your safety school, these questions will give you a good idea of what to expect. So check out our top interview questions for colleges and start prepping!
Top Interview Questions For Colleges:
- Why do you want to attend our college?
- What are your academic interests and how did you develop them?
- Describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you coped with it.
- Tell us about someone who has influenced you, and how they have affected your life.
- What are your extracurricular activities and leadership roles, and how have they helped shape who you are today?
- What would you say is your greatest achievement outside of academics or athletics?
"Why Do You Want to Attend Our School?"
While we all want to come up with the perfect answer for this classic college interview question, it can be easier said than done! Before you sit down for your interview, try to articulate why it is that you want to attend the particular school. Consider your future goals and how attending this college could help get you on the right track toward accomplishing them. Also, think about what makes this particular college stand out from other schools you've applied to — perhaps it's a one-of-a-kind program or simply that it was your dream school growing up. No matter how you want to approach it, make sure you provide an earnest and tailored response that shows the interviewers why this is a place you want to call home.
"I've been interested in attending your college ever since I first laid eyes on it. It has a great reputation for its academics and an incredible range of extracurricular activities that perfectly match my interests. The more research I did, the more confident I became that this is the perfect place to help me reach my future goals."
"What are your academic interests and how did you develop them?"
Answering this question can be a tricky one for many high schoolers. They may not always feel passionate about their academic interests or may think that their interests are too basic to answer the question. However, it’s all about how you frame it and discuss the journey of development and growth with your focus topics. Focus on what interested you in the first place and what shaped your journey, because there's something to learn from any experience involving our academic interests!
"My academic interests are rooted in literature and creative writing. I’ve been writing since I was a child, but it wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I decided to make it a real focus point in my studies. During this time, I joined several online workshops and participated in college summer programs to hone my craft and challenge myself to grow. Through these experiences, I’ve developed a passion for dissecting works of literature and crafting my own pieces that explore the human experience."
"Describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you coped with it."
College interviews can make high schoolers sweat, but there are tips on how to make the process easier. When you're asked to "Describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you coped with it," it's a good opportunity to show off your core values. Think of your recent experiences and pick one where you used your strong core values to problem-solve with other kids in the moment or with support from family members. Showing that you can lean on others and problem-solve when times are tough demonstrates that you have leadership qualities and strength of character — something colleges should take note of during an interview!
"Last year, I was the student leader of a team project for my school's environmental club. We had to come up with a plan to reduce our school’s carbon footprint and present it to the principal. It seemed like an impossible task as we were dealing with limited financial resources and time constraints. To overcome this challenge, I rallied my team together, held weekly meetings to discuss our goals and brainstorm ideas, and coordinated with local organizations for assistance. Through hard work and collaboration, we were able to come up with a successful plan that was well-received by the school administrators!"
"Tell us about someone who has influenced you, and how they have affected your life."
When it comes to talking about someone who has had an impact on your life, family members are often a great place to start. Think of a family member who has displayed specific attributes or particular character traits that have made an impression on you and how their influence has shaped your own beliefs and values. Whether it was the way they showed patience, courage, support or another admirable quality, their influence is worth noting during the college interview process. Details matter in questions like this and can go a long way in showing admissions committees why you deserve a spot in their school.
"My grandmother is someone who has had a great influence on me. She was never afraid to take risks and always pushed me to be the best version of myself. I remember that no matter what I wanted to do, she never thought it was impossible. When I told her that I wanted to pursue a degree in engineering, she gave me the confidence to take on the challenge and remain motivated when others told me it was too difficult. Her support has made me a stronger person and her example of courage continues to inspire me each day."
"What are your extracurricular activities and leadership roles, and how have they helped shape who you are today?"
One of the most popular questions is often “What are your extracurricular activities and leadership roles, and how have they helped shape who you are today?” This question can be tricky to answer so it’s important to remember that most interviewers want an honest response. To prepare a confident answer that stands out, think carefully about your most impressive extracurricular activities or leadership roles and how they connected you with valuable soft skills such as collaboration, communication, or problem-solving. Demonstrate through concrete examples how these experiences shaped who you are today and communicate to interviewers the values that have made an impact on your life.
"I’m an active member of the robotics team at my school and a mentor to some of the younger members in our group. Through this extracurricular activity, I have been able to hone my problem-solving skills and gain valuable experience when it comes to teamwork. I also serve as a student ambassador for our school which has provided me with opportunities to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and hone my communication skills. All of these experiences have helped to shape the person I am today by teaching me how to think critically and work collaboratively with others."
"What would you say is your greatest achievement outside of academics or athletics?"
If you’re anything like most interviewees, it can be hard to answer the question of “What would you say is your greatest achievement outside of academics or athletics?” Being a successful student and athlete are both huge accomplishments, but what about those who don't take part in either activity? How do interviewees go about talking about their other interests, passions, or challenges they have faced? A great way to tackle this interview question is by focusing on any clubs or organizations you’ve been involved in, as well as leadership roles you have taken up at school. Highlighting any awards or special recognition that you have received compared to other kids is also an effective way to demonstrate your strengths and successes. Ultimately, the goal of this interview question is to show that even outside of the classroom and athletics field, students are capable of achieving greatness with the right ambition and focus. Be enthusiastic when talking about these non-academic achievements - interviewers will notice!
"My greatest achievement outside of academics or athletics is definitely my involvement in the school theatre program. I have been a part of our theater company since freshman year and it has enabled me to explore various aspects of creativity, from writing scripts and directing plays to designing costumes and sets. I was even awarded Best Actor for our school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. I’m proud of the recognition that I have earned, but it is more important to me that theatre has given me a sense of purpose and an outlet for creative expression that I can look back on fondly."
In summary, there is no one-size fits all answer to college interview questions but by doing the research beforehand and reflecting on your experiences, you can come up with interview answers that will show your enthusiasm for higher education. When it comes to interviews, preparation is key and never underestimate the importance of practice.
Remember: Do your homework, be yourself, talk about your convictions and passions. Most importantly though be sure to speak positively about any major colleges you may be considering-- after all, if you make a great first impression in an admissions interview, it’ll leave a lasting impression with the admissions officer! College interviews are an exciting part of the admission process – so embrace it! And if you would like help navigating this seemingly daunting process then please contact us to plan your perfect college campus visit.