Advice for seniors

Seniors: What not to ask in an interview


Seniors, in the next weeks,  many of you will be interviewing at the schools on your list which offer that opportunity -- in the admission office, via Skype or with an alumni interviewer. In most interviews, at some point, you will be asked if you have any questions. Don't waste the interviewer's -- and your -- time with questions which can be readily answered by looking at the college's website, such as the number of undergraduates or whether a specific major is offered. That communicates that you didn't do your homework. Research in advance the basics of the who, what or where of the university. Also, don't try to stump the admission officer with a question only the head of the physics department can answer. You should really want to know the answers to the questions you pose -- because you are having a conversation about a place which, if you enroll, will affect your life in significant ways.

In next week's advice, we'll have some ideas about and suggestions for questions you may want to ask.

For more information on interviews, including what to expect and how to prepare, as well as advice for parents, see Chapter 11, "College Interviews," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step

Seniors: College Interview Advice

Seniors, here's our best advice for interviewing -- whether you're doing an admission office interview or an alumni interview in the coming weeks.

Take the time to reflect on who you truly are before you show up for the interview. For example, think about  what's important to you, what you're reading, which of your activities means the most to you, what event going on in the world right now has caught your attention and why?

Dress appropriately. Admission officers say by far the most frequent interview faux pas are wardrobe malfunctions.  Here's a guideline: dress like you're lunching with your grandparents.

Be on time. In fact, be a little early.

Be polite— to everyone: the receptionist, the other students and parents in the waiting room, the interviewer and your parents.

Be yourself— unless you’re chronically late or usually impolite. Colleges want to see who you really are… within limits.

Be genuine and forthcoming. Your openness and receptivity to connecting with another person is as important as the subject matter discussed.

Remember: An interview is not a test. It's a conversation.