The Do's and Don'ts of College Interviews

Ace Your College Admissions Interview

The college interview
Chris Ryan / Caiaimage / Getty Images.

What Is a College Interview?

A college interview evens the playing field between school candidates. The interview is your chance to tell a school everything that your grades and test scores couldn't. While every college interview is a unique experience, there are a few general do's and don'ts that can give you confidence and ensure your success. The last thing you want to do is make a college interview mistake that will cut your chances of admission.

Here are some of the major do's and don'ts of college interviews.

College Interview Do's

  • Do plan to arrive at least ten minutes early. Know where the interview location is and know how long it takes to get there.
  • Do prepare and practice answers for common interview questions. Don’t wait until the night before to begin preparation. The sooner you start, the more comfortable you will be.
  • Do dress for success. Jeans and T-shirts have no place at an interview. When in doubt, be conservative.
  • Do turn off your cell phone or better yet, don't take it into the interview.
  • Do greet the interviewer by title and last name. If you are given a tour of the facility, greet every person you see with courtesy and respect.
  • Do shake hands firmly.
  • Do wait to be offered a chair before sitting.
  • Do remember posture and body language. Look interested at all times and refrain from fidgeting.
  • Do stress your achievements. Remember that this is your chance to sell yourself.
  • Do ask intelligent questions about the school, programs, and faculty. Show enthusiasm where appropriate.
  • Do close the interview by verifying your interest in the school.

College Interview Don'ts

  • Don't reschedule the interview unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
  • Don't forget the interviewer's name.
  • Don't forget to smile!
  • Don't answer every question with a simple yes or no. Elaborate on your answers whenever possible.
  • Don't lie. Answer questions honestly and frankly.
  • Don't ever offer any negative information about yourself.
  • Don't forget to verbally thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.
  • Don't forget to promptly send a thank you note to the interviewer.