Some schools and colleges require an interview; others strongly recommend one; others have no requirements. Having an interview provides a good way to leave a personal impression on a college and is also an opportunity for you to ask questions. You should spend some time thinking about the impression you would like to leave with your interviewer. Think about your interests and hobbies, favorite subjects, competencies, strengths, and weaknesses.
Always make an appointment well in advance. If you see that you will be unavoidably late, telephone. If possible, arrange to visit the college when students are on campus and in session. The spring of your junior year or the fall of your senior year are good times to visit Know something about the college before you arrive. The worst impression you can make is to ask a question that could have easily been answered by reading material already sent to you. The kinds of questions you may want to ask are those not found in the material you received such as:
• Particular courses?
• Are freshman classes taught by professors or grad students?
• Are campus jobs limited to those students awarded financial aid?
• Can freshmen fully participate in all activities?
• What are the living arrangement options?
• What are the meal plan options?
• Take an active part in the interview.
Know your academic record. If you are asked about any poor grades, explain them. Do not make excuses: Accept Responsibility. Know your SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Test scores / ACT results. Know your record of participation in activities from 9th grade on, in and out of school, and be able to talk about any significant part of it. Know and be able to talk about your hobbies, interests, educational plans, and travel or work experiences you have had.
Use questions that the interviewer asks to make a point about yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for a minute or two to think about a question before you answer. You may even make a few notes or ask the interviewer if you may return to that question later. Does all of this create a bad impression? No! On the contrary, it shows that you are taking the interview seriously, that you are not responding to the questions off the top of your head and that you are doing your very best to make your responses count. It is up to you to maximize the interview potential. That is not the responsibility of the admissions officer.
At the end of the interview, if there are items on your list which you have not yet covered, take a minute to mention them briefly. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, don’t feel that you must have some, but if you do, make sure they are good ones.