When I was informed that I had my to have my first college interview, I was simultaneously excited and terrified. I looked all over the internet for advice and tips and I wanted to do anything to prepare. Yet, I wasn’t able to find comprehensive advice/tips that were current for the specific universities that I was looking for. Thus, since I have now done four college interviews for: Hult International Business School, Columbia, Stanford and UPenn, I’ve decided to share some of my own knowledge in hopes of helping some of you guys out.
Hult: My Hult interview was over skype so I didn’t have to worry about the formalities of meeting someone in person and how that interaction would go down. I had a test skype call right before to make sure that everything was working well and then I waited for my interviewer to call.
Columbia: My Columbia interview took place in a coffee shop and I was worried about how to approach that situation. Like, Do I get my coffee? Pay for hers? It ended up being fine, I was just worrying about the little things. What actually happened is that I got there early, got my coffee sat down and waited for her and when she got there she got her coffee and sat next to me and it was perfect.
Stanford: My Stanford interview was in the lobby of a fancy hotel and at first it was kind of awkward because my interviewer was still talking to another interviewee and wrapping up their conversation. At some point, I just walked around and waited patiently while they finished and then approached her once their interview ended. (Also, my interviewer e-mailed me before hand telling me to dress casual and so I wore jeans and a nice black blouse and when I got there, the guy who was talking to her was wearing a full-on fancy suit, so that was sort of intimidating, but I got over it… after all, I did follow what she said.)
UPenn: My UPenn interview happened on the phone so that one was pretty straightforward. Just a little weird not being able to see my interviewers facial expressions, hand movements etc.
3 QUESTIONS MY INTERVIEWERS ASKED ME
1. What’s your background been like? Moving around? Being an international student?
2. How have you gotten involved in your school community?
3. Why do you want to study business?
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself…
2. What are some of your biggest passions?
3. What do you love about Columbia?
1. How’s your senior year going by so far? Stressed out? Excited?
2. Have you visited Stanford? What did you like about it?
3. What are some of your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself working after college?
1. What’s life like at your school? Where have you lived in the past?
2. What extracurriculars do you do?
3. Why UPenn?
PRO TIP: I was really worried that some of these schools were going to ask me those insane interview questions like: If you had three balls and a rubber band, how many things could you do with those items? Instead, all of my interviews were really calm and casual, and it was more about getting to know me and why I wanted to go to each university. SO, DON’T FREAK OUT.
1. Dress nicely, not fancy but put-together. You want to make a good impression.
2. Be prepared to answer questions about why you want a specific major/why you want to go to their school.
3. Know what you’re going to say about yourself when you get the “Tell me a little bit about yourself” question since you can use that spiel for any interview.
4. MAKE EYE CONTACT. BUT DON’T BE CREEPY.
5. Don’t freak out over the small details. Focus on the big picture.
6. You will always get the “Do you have any questions for me?” at the end of the interview, so come up with two good ones before hand. You don’t want to just end the interview with “no I think you’ve answered everything.” Some of mine were about jobs/internships, life on campus, a specific major/minor combination etc…
THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW.
- Interviewers don’t have access to your application. They don’t know your test scores, GPA, rank…. and they don’t care. They won’t ask you about any of this, they want to know more about you apart from these numbers.
- Your interviewer can be a current student (like mine was for Columbia), they’re not all 60-year old alumni.
Focus on giving them information that you might have not been able to share on your application. Give them something to remember you by and be interesting. Just focus on getting them to know who you are, what you do, and why you want to go to their school. Apart from that, nothing else really matters. So don’t worry and good luck!