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Top 3 College Admissions Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Picture this. You are sitting in front of your computer, smiling as wide as you can. You hope the person at the other end of the video call can’t see you sweat. Your heart is pounding so hard that you can hear it through your headphones. Yes, this is it. This is your college admissions interview!

“Why do you want to attend Insight University?” the alumna nonchalantly asks.

Your mind goes blank.  You’ve been dreaming of attending this school since you were in kindergarten, but now that you’ve applied, landed an alumni interview, and the alumni interview is actually taking place, you are too nervous to think straight.

“I’d like to attend Insight University because of its’ beautiful campus and because I have a lot of school spirit and I look forward to attending many of Insight U’s sporting events,” you meekly respond.

And immediately you think, “This is going downhill. I am never getting in.”

 

Avoid the nerves getting to you. Practice your interview early.

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous before an interview, but by preparing and preparing some more with our list of common college interview questions, and understanding how to give answers that show you truly understand your interviewer’s priorities, you’ll be able to give stronger interviews in no time! Practice them often. Seek out Insight Counselors for mock interviews to get constructive feedback. Research and rehearse even if it’s only an informational interview.

 

College Admissions Interview Question 1: Why do you want to attend this school?

Now back to our previous scenario. That is not a good response because it is very generic and can be applied to many colleges. Just like when you were writing your supplementary application essays, it’s very important to do your homework on Insight U.  Study Insight University’s website and, if possible, speak to current or former Insight U students until you can use specific examples of what the school has to offer and how that directly connects with your interests. Dig deep. Not just in your college research but also yourself. Knowing what your interests are and what the school can offer to help you grow. The most powerful answer connects your interests/strengths and the unique opportunities on campus. Additionally, show enthusiasm for the school. You want the interviewer to walk away thinking that you have done your research and know exactly why you want to attend the college AND that you are very excited about the prospect of attending there.

 

College Admissions Interview Question 2: Why do you want to major in ______?

Now that you know how to answer the “Why this college?” question, let’s move on to another common college interview question—Why do you want to major in ________?  Similar to the “Why this college?” question, it is important to research your intended major and what it has to offer at the university. A great response will show that you have a thorough knowledge of the major, evidence of some pursuit of knowledge in that subject area, and you can connect it to the school well. 

Read more: How to Write the Why Major or Why College Essays?

 

College Admissions Interview Question 3: Do you have any questions for me?

Finally, at the end of your interview, many interviewers will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”  While you might think this is a throwaway question, it definitely is not. In fact, this is another opportunity for you to show your genuine enthusiasm and interest in the school.  You should always be prepared with a couple of subjective questions to ask your interviewer. Don’t ask questions that can be answered by going to the college’s website. A couple of examples of good questions to ask your interviewer include: “How did your life change as a result of attending this college?” and “Why did you decide to attend this college?” It can also be your chance to gather useful information such as, “What’s your favorite studying spot?” or “Where’s your favorite place to eat near campus?”

 

 

Now that you know how to answer three common college interview questions, get out there and impress that alumni interviewer—and hopefully increase your chances of being accepted to your dream school!

 

(P.S. Insight University is a made-up school 😀 )

 


Written by Jason Katz

This article was written by Insight Counselor Jason Katz.

Jason has helped hundreds of students gain admission to their best-fit universities. In addition, he wrote more than 170 college admissions/college life columns for the Palo Alto Daily News and the San Jose Mercury News. Read his full bio here.

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