How to prepare for a college interview

April 5, 2013

Though many people go to college - according to the National Center for Education Statistics, student enrollment in degree-granting schools increased by 37 percent between 2000 and 2010 - the process isn't always easy. Tips for getting into college  relate to studying and organization and test taking strategies. Additionally, knowing how to approach an interview is helpful. 

This is often a necessary step for those applying for a scholarship. The interview is an individual's chance to put a face on his or her application, so few approach this opportunity lightly. 

By following a few guidelines an individual can navigate through this important one-on-one chat successfully. 

Honesty is the best policy
Fudging answers may be tempting, but ultimately can make individuals look foolish. When confronted with a tough question, one might take a moment to search for an answer, but he or she simply may not have a clue. In these situations, it's better to say so than pull something totally incorrect out of thin air. 

In a 2013 USA Today interview, professor Patrick O'Brien, author of "Making College Count," explains this strategy.

"Be a truth teller. If you don't know the answer, don't fake it. I'd rather see you go 19 for 20 in answering questions in an interview than potentially destroy 100 percent of your credibility with one answer," O'Brien said. 

O'Brien says that if an individual draws a blank, he or she doesn't have to be at a complete loss for words, either. After admitting not knowing the answer, one can explain the process that he or she would take, research-wise, to find it. 

If an interviewee does have an answer, however, the way in which he or she presents it also has significance.

Have the appropriate delivery
The news source also interviewed Susan Davis-Ali, Ph.D., founder of Leadership1, an online mentoring network for women. Davis-Ali stressed the importance of a confident delivery.

"Interviewers are drawn to people with confidence," Davis-Ali said.

Answering questions boldly reflects well on an individual, whatever his or her answer may be. That being said, Davis-Ali warns that sounding arrogant, even if the answer is correct, puts an interviewee in a bad light. 

The key may be to simply be thoughtful in one's answers. In a New York Times blog, Chandler Buckingham, a high school student from Arkansas, said that in a college interview situation, she felt most comfortable answering questions when she took a moment to prepare her answers. Doing so while being both honest and confident in one's responses sets an individual up for success in an interview. 

Be Sociable, Share!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply