There are a couple of universities that have an interview round to their admission process, because they don’t just want a student who is good on paper, but has a stellar personality as well. It’s not hard to feel completely overwhelmed, trying to figure out what to say, hoping your ‘dream university’ does not slip right out of your hands. Take a deep breath and have a look at what to expect in the admissions interview round and how to potentially ace it –
Why did you choose this university?
One of the major factors admissions interviewers look at is your reasons for considering the university in the first place. They want to know why you chose their particular university, and should they offer you a place there, there’s a good chance of you accepting their offer. This means that they are looking to see if you’ve done your research well, and know what exactly it is that they offer. Talk about the facilities they offer and how integral it is to your subject of study – this will show them that your choice values the subject you want to take up, and not just because the university is ‘great’. Also, talk about the university’s reputation for that particular subject, and if they have certain faculty that inspire you, that you look forward to learning from.
Don’t : Leave things like “Because my parents/sibling/uncle/aunty went here”, “Because it is cheaper than others”, “Because I want to be a part of xyz sorority house”, “Because I heard the frat parties are amazing” or “Because I couldn’t decide which other universities to apply to”, completely off the table
What made you choose this subject?
This should tell the interviewer how passionate you are about the subject and how it aligns with your future career goals. Here you must convey to them how much you enjoy the subject, and how committed you are towards taking it up. A student who is genuinely interested in a subject will automatically be more active in class and ensure full participation, which is also a deciding factor in your admissions.
Don’t: Don’t choose a subject because you think it’s easier to get good grades in it, and more importantly, don’t tell your interviewer about it! Also, don’t tell the interviewer that you are not likely to get good grades in any other subject, else you’ll be shown the door.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Here, the interviewers are looking to understand and get a sense of you as a person. In terms of your strengths, highlight some of your qualities that have been put to good use in the past. For example, if you’ve been a part of a team project that won first place, highlight how teamwork and being a team player is what largely led to your victory. Or if you’ve maintained good grades throughout, bring that to focus and talk about your determination and commitment to your academics. Your weaknesses don’t have to be completely negative or serious. You can also throw in a joke or two, like – I spend all the money buying too many books/clothes/etc.
Don’t: Saying things like “I’m the best you can get”, “I am flawless”, “I’m too lazy” or “I procrastinate too much” is a complete No-No.
Where do you see yourself in X years?
This probably is the most daunting of interview questions because many times this one’s a ‘yet to be discovered’ kind of answer. If you’ve chosen a particular subject to study, then you must obviously have a reason and a plan behind it. Tell the interviewer how your degree with perfectly fit your long-term career goals, what you hope to achieve in your career in that amount of time, and how will you put your degree to good use. You can also tell the interviewer if you wish to pursue any future studies like a masters or a PhD.
Don’t : Don’t make the mistake of saying “I haven’t had that figured out yet”, “I want to make lots of money”, “I want to have my own mansion” or “I want to be the next Bill Gates”.