Tips for a Successful College Interview

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Lillian Ruelle

Arriving fashionably late establishes you as a genuine, multifaceted individual and shows bold disregard for societal expectations of timeliness.

Grace Schwab, Copy Editor

The prospect of a college interview — a factor which in many cases can make or break an application — haunts many a senior at BHS. Here are eight simple tips to ensure a successful college interview. 

 

  • Arrive fashionably late. What better way to start the interview than to build a bit of anticipation for meeting you? College interviewers are sure to respect someone arriving fifteen minutes late to a half hour interview. 
  • Let your parents lead the way. Stand behind your parents during the initial introduction. This provides a barrier between you and the stranger before you are acquainted. If you’re feeling too anxious to answer one of their questions, turn to your mother or father and confer with them in a quiet voice before responding. If you’re too nervous to speak, give a nod and they will answer for you; they’ll most likely know the answer better than you since they wrote your application for you. 
  • Emphasize out-of-school activities. You don’t want the interviewer to think you’re an academic robot who doesn’t have a life outside of school. To set the tone and demonstrate that you get out and have your share of fun apart from school, slide in a backhanded remark during introductions such as, “Wow, I’m so hungover from the party I went to last night. You’ll have to talk slower than usual or my head will start to hurt!” 
  • Keep your phone open and next to you. You never know if you’ll get an important notification. Plus, receiving a call, text or even a Snap shows the interviewer that you are an able communicator, a multi-tasker and that you have friends. You might even consider asking a friend to Snap you — make the interviewer fight for your attention. Make sure to document the moment by taking a selfie with your interviewer. 
  • Be casual. Many of your interviewers will be in the later half of their lives, and it may be funny to respond ever so often with “Okay, Boomer” to recognize this. In addition, practice shrugging and saying “yeah” so that the interviewer knows that you’re not taking them too seriously and that you’re not intimidated. They want the real you, so throw in a curse word or two if you’re so inclined.
  • Don’t make eye contact. That might intimidate them or signify that you’re challenging their authority. Instead, keep your eye on the door in case someone important walks in. 
  • Be honest. Finish the interview by boasting that this college is not in fact your top choice. Talk about your REAL first choice, and how this school is your backup. This is your way of playing hard to get, and implies that you’re over-qualified for the school. 

 

Augment Most Achievements (Necessary for Desired Acceptance). If your list of accomplishments isn’t very impressive, embellish. If you’ve started to slack off and quit a couple activities recently, your interviewer doesn’t need to know. And even if you’ve never actually helped injured mongooses at an animal sanctuary in Vietnam this past summer, how are they supposed to know? The application process is about playing the game, so make sure you’re memorable. You can sacrifice truth along the way.