Keep the following points in mind during an interview

  1. Dress neatly, but don’t overdo it.
  2. Look the interviewer in the eye – looking down at your lap is not conducive to good two-way communication. And give a firm handshake – no one likes a wet noodle.
  3. Avoid “far-out” expressions of your innermost self, such as tattoos, body piercings, or bright green hair.
  4. Feel free to voice your opinions if they are well thought out and you can defend them. No one wants a totally bland and sanitized response – take a stand.
  5. Write a thank-you note to be polite, but don’t expect that it will get you in.
  6. Make a list of the two or three major academic topics and the two or three extracurricular interests you want to get across no matter what the interviewer asks you.
  7. Make sure you do your homework about the school and have a few thoughtful questions. Feel free to refer to your own notes for this part of the interview.
  8. Put the interviewer in the position of defending or explaining some aspect of the school that you are concerned about.
  9. Mention any odd or interesting hobbies, passions, or pursuits that float your boat. If you’re lucky, you might establish that elusive bond of commonality.
  10. Don’t mumble or talk into your hands  – speak up so the interviewer can hear you.
  11. Don’t worry if you’re shy  – focus on your strengths and substance and don’t worry so much about the delivery.
  12. Bring a copy of your activity list, but don’t assume that everyone will want it.
  13. Keep in mind that the interview is structured to help your chances of admission by finding out more about you. Take advantage.
  14. Elaborate upon your answers. Remember, short, monosyllabic responses will not get you very far.
  15. Overall, be sure you spend enough time on your academic interests. Because you will be judged first and foremost on your academics, don’t make the mistake of speaking about your extracurricular activities for 90 percent of interview. This is the most common mistake made by students. You can never spend too much time on academic interests.

A short list of the fifteen most common interview questions

  1. Tell us about your school and your classes this year.
  2. What do you do in your spare time?
  3. Describe your most influential or favorite teacher.
  4. Tell us about a book you read recently.
  5. Is there any major project or research paper you are particularly proud of?
  6. What has been your most exciting intellectual experience?
  7. What are you looking for in your college experience? What do you like about our school?
  8. What will be your biggest contributions to our campus?
  9. Do you have any special talents or hobbies?
  10. What would your favorite teacher say about you?
  11. What do you see yourself doing in twenty years?
  12. If you could change one thing about your high school, what would you change?
  13. What would you do with a free day?
  14. How would you want to be remembered?
  15. Do you have questions for me?

Common interviewing questions used by highly selective colleges

  1. Tell me about your high school, some strengths and weaknesses.
  2. How many people are in the senior class?
  3. Why are you interested in applying to this college?
  4. What are the subjects you enjoy most? (Elaborate)
  5. Tell me about your junior year classes.
  6. Tell me about any academic pursuits outside the class room?
  7. If you could change something about you your high school, what would you change?
  8. What activities are the most important to you?
  9. What have been the biggest disappointments or failures in your high school career?
  10. What did you do this summer?
  11. Do you have any interesting hobbies, outside interests?
  12. What teacher has had the biggest influence on you?
  13. If you could take a year off between high school and colleges, what would you do?
  14. How would your friends describe you, your strengths and weakness?
  15. Are there any accomplishments you are particularly proud of, and why?
  16. Have you read any interesting books lately?
  17. What current event has sparked your interest?