Be Yourself.  (Okay, we’re done…shortest…blog…ever.)

For those who like their blogs more than 8 words long, read on, McGruff….

Yes, be your most polite, friendly self.  But, be yourself.

And, I know it’s easy for me to say, but…relax.

Just as the College Admission process is a chance for both the College AND the student to evaluate each other, so is the interview a chance for both the college admissions counselor and the student to get to know more about the other.

With an admission interview, the student becomes “real” to the admissions representative.  No longer is this just a file, with transcripts, standardized test scores and other paperwork, but this is now a real person associated with that file.

A few pointers to help ensure an enjoyable, successful admission interview:

  • Treat the interview as a chance to meet a potential new friend.  In most admission settings, the admission counselor wishes to be an advocate for you.
  • Be on time.
  • Be friendly, but not silly.  Be polite.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Avoid slang.  Use appropriate language.
  • Dress appropriately.  No t-shirts with inappropriate writing.
  • DON’T be distant, distracted, rude or condescending.
  • PARENTS: Let your child speak.  This is not your interview and you will hurt your student’s chances if you ‘hog’ the conversation.
  • AFTER: Say thank you at the end of the interview.  Follow up later with a thank-you note (email or snail mail).

Have a few questions prepared ahead of time.  A few to consider:

  • How is your (your academic program of interest) different from other programs?
  • How many students are from (your hometown)?
  • Where have your students gotten internships?
  • Where have alumni gotten jobs?
  • Can you explain the admission process for me?  How do you determine who is accepted and who is not?
  • When do admission letters go out?
  • If I have questions after today, what is the best way to reach you?

A few questions you may want to have answers at the ready:

  • Why do you want to go here?
  • Why are you interested in that major?
  • What other schools are you looking at?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What do you consider your greatest weakness?
  • How would College X benefit from your enrollment here?

But do not memorize answers – It is best to be conversational, not like you are reading a speech.

Make sure you know how to reach your interviewer with follow-up questions.  You should ask for the interviewer’s business card if he or she doesn’t offer it automatically.  (If the interviewer is NOT your counselor, make sure you also receive the business card for YOUR admission counselor.)

A little “cut and dried” this week – hope you don’t mind.  As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at, call me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.