The Importance of Interview Preparation

Many of you will be looking at colleges and universities this year.  It is important to make sure that seniors are prepared for Admissions Interviews.  

The process of applying for college can be a stressful event. Students who are prepared interview with confidence.

Good interview skills are basic life skills. They encompass how to listen to questions, be thoughtful in answers, and how to apply aspects of the questions to a conversation. Admissions interviewers are looking for students who can think through responses, be cognizant of language and space fillers, and be confident in the interview experience.

When practicing for interviews, students should build a repertoire of thoughtful and applicable answers. Admissions interviews are looking for students who can add value to their schools.

When interviewing, the specific answers do not always matter. Rather, it is the process of how the student gets to those answers. Is the student thoughtful, kind, and considerate? Driven and focused? Does he or she think about questions before answering, or jump in immediately? Does the student dominate the conversation?

Interviewers are looking at each applicant to see how he or she handles challenges and opportunities. Often, open ended questions will be asked as a way of gathering information about the student that may not be obvious from the resume and transcript. These questions give students the opportunities to share their true selves. Some examples of open ended questions include:

  •      Tell me about yourself.
  •      Why this school?
  •      What would you best friend say about you?
  •      What makes you special?

These questions present the invaluable opportunity for the student to present his or her “themes”, and to impress upon the interviewer certain qualities and passions. In addition, interviewers are looking for how these answers express that the student is aware of the greater world, outside of the high school bubble. This is when students can talk about leadership experiences, extracurriculars, and time management, with specific life examples. It’s so important for students to be able to tell their stories and make themselves relatable. That is why practicing is essential – when a student knows what he or she wants to express in the interview, the student is prepared and ready to discuss the topics at hand.

Interviews show that students are more than mere grades and test scores. They are opportunities to explain why things went well or not, and to show learning experiences.

Most importantly, well prepared students make for excellent and confident interviewees. When a student is prepared, that student has more energy than nervousness. Energy is infectious, which translates to a more pleasurable and relaxing interview, enabling the interviewer to see the student’s true self and how he or she will be able to fit in well on campus.


Elissa is a seasoned interview specialist who has been conducting college and professional interviews for over 15 years. She works, privately, with GAMECHANGER students to ensure that they are fully prepared for college, graduate school, and job interviews.


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