Yes, I’m going to share some sample college interview questions below. But before you scroll down and copy/paste, here are three things to think about:
It’s more important to be likeable than impressive
This advice came from Monica James during a podcast episode we did on college interview tips. More than anything, you want your interviewer to like you and to write a great note about you for your application file when it’s being reviewed.
The good news? It’s actually much easier to be likable than it is to be impressive. Once you’ve been granted an interview to your dream school, you probably don’t have time to add impressive things to your activities list. But being a bit more likeable? That’s surprisingly easy.
If you want to be more likeable, find a way to ask your college interviewer about themselves, their experiences, their knowledge, and their opinions. People enjoy talking about themselves, and it makes them happy and feel useful if they can provide wisdom and guidance that can help others make better decisions.
And then they associate those happy feelings with you, the interviewee. Those positive feelings combined with your thoughtful answers means you’re a lot more likely to be remembered positively when it comes to application review time. All because you gave the interviewer an opportunity to talk about themselves.
Craft questions that allow you to communicate things the interviewer didn’t ask you about
Did your interviewer specifically ask you about your academic interests and role as captain of the Geography Bee team, buuuuut you actually want to find a way to let them know you’re a champion gymnast? Say “I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was four. What’s the school’s gymnastics team like?”
If they didn’t ask about your award-winning genetics project, you might say “So, I’ve been working on science projects related to DNA and genetics for the last two years. I know Dr. Li has been doing some really innovative research in that area. Are any other microbiology professors working on interesting studies or projects that you know of?”
It’s also okay to ask about things you’re just curious about that you’d like to get more insight on
It’s a good idea to give interviewers an opportunity to talk about themselves. It’s a good idea to use your interview questions to reiterate how awesome you are. It’s also fine to ask questions because you’re curious.
You’re allowed to ask “Honestly, how’s the cafeteria food?” or “How hard is it to get cast in the theater department’s plays if you’re not a theater major?” or “Does it ever get boring going to college in a town with a population of 5,000?”
You’re a deep well of curiosity with lots of questions – get answers to them.