University admissions interviews are generally either evaluative or informative. Evaluative interviews can be expected in order to gain admission to particularly prestigious universities. In this instance, your performance in the interview will be considered when the university admissions officers decide whether to offer you a place.
In an informative interview, you have the opportunity to find out more about the university, while the university also finds out more about you. In this case, the university admissions officers may be just as keen to impress you, as you are to impress them, because they want you to choose their institution. Of course, your university interview may include both evaluative and informative elements.
University admissions interviewers are likely to be meeting a large number of candidates, so you need to think about how you can stand out and leave a good impression. When interviewers ask you to tell them about yourself, try to respond with something memorable. This is your chance to convey your passion for your chosen subject, your future ambitions, and the qualities you possess that will ensure your academic success.
It’s a good idea to take a look back at the university’s prospectus or official website for full information on how the course is structured, what the entry requirements are and what optional modules are offered, amongst other guidance. This will help you show that you’ve researched the course thoroughly, and could also help you form some useful questions to ask the admissions officers. There is usually an opportunity to do this, even in a performative interview. Make sure the questions you ask haven’t already been covered in the published course information.
Being interviewed is a skill, and it requires practice. Sit down with one of your parents, a teacher, a college counsellor, or a friend and have him or her ask you their best college interview questions. Answer them honestly and seriously. Then ask your “interviewer” how you came across.
You'll also get better after each college interview, so try to arrange your schedule so that your last interviews are with the schools you care about most. Remember, the key to getting admitted is finding your best fit school. You want to be yourself so that the person interviewing you can discern what you would add to the campus community. Before your interview, think about why the school appeals to you, what you want to study, and what you might do after graduation. You have many sides, so showcase the side of yourself that is professional, mature and poised. Don't show up looking like you just peeled yourself off the couch—wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Send a thank-you note. If there's something about the interview that was helpful to you, let your interviewer know. If you connected with your interviewer over a book, common experience, or a band you’re both into, then mention it!
Otherwise, simply express your continued interest in the school and thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.