ALUMNI and ON-CAMPUS ADMISSIONS INTERVIEWS
First and foremost- be yourself because everyone else is taken! That’s not cliche-it is truly the most important piece of advice I can provide.
Please contact me to schedule your mock interview. To prepare for a successful interview, make sure you have done your homework! First and foremost, know your interviewer. Check their LinkedIn profile and do a Google search- looking for common bonds to share. Some of the most successful interview experiences are those where we learn that you and your interviewer have only one-degree of separation! Do your homework!
Most alumni interviewers will not have received your Common Application. You have more “control” over the flow of the conversation when you bring your interviewer your “Activities Resume”. Please contact me to review recent accomplishments and to ensure you are using a format that will showcase your strengths and capture the interviewer’s attention. One[page – that’s sufficient!
Be prepared to ask questions about campus life, academics and research opportunities in your chosen field. There should not be a single surprised look on your face when the interviewer speaks of a club (related to your expressed interest), or anything about the curriculum in your intended major. You should very clearly show the same level of “informed interest” as you demonstrated in your application essays. The more you know, the interviewer will understand that you are very very very interested in attending the institution.
Be a good listener—alumni LOVE to talk about their alma mater.
MAKE YOUR POINT!
I’ve interviewed hundreds of high school, undergraduate and graduate students in mock and actual academic and employment settings. I often observe the same mistake: students spew out long lists of accomplishments without taking a breath! Each sentence you speak should make a unique point.
For example, if you want to talk about your experiences in Science Olympiad, expand that thought by connecting to scientific research opportunities on campus. Use the opportunity to mention a particular faculty research lab that you might like to join. Don’t list all your accomplishments in one sentence: “I enjoyed my time in high school participating in Science Olympiad, organizing the Girl Scout Cookie drive, volunteering at the Hospital, Teaching Sunday School and Playing Clarinet in the Concert Band.” Each accomplishment is worthy of its own sentence! Each accomplishment can be connected to a similar initiative at the undergraduate community you would like to join.
Exude heartfelt passion about the university, demonstrating you have done your homework and that you bring something special to the class of 2021! Your alumni interviewer should look forward to welcoming you into the Alumni Association in the not too distant future!
FASHIONISTA – ABSOLUTELY NOT! (Unless you are an art or performance major!)
I’m often asked what to wear for the interview. I can more easily tell you what not to wear. (This is the part where I probably sound pretty much like your parents). Do not wear ripped jeans however fashionable. Do not wear sneakers. Do not wear excessive cologne/perfume. Unless you are an aspiring Business student, in general, a pair of slacks and a clean button-down shirt/blouse are best. If you are a finalist for a competitive scholarship, men should arrive in a tie at minimum. Modest, tasteful and business casual are the general guidelines for interview dress.
Side note: If you know you tend to sniffle, have tissues on hand should something in the environment cause a flare-up.
WHERE ELSE DID YOU APPLY?
If your interviewer is rude enough to ask this question directly or hint indirectly (you must have applied to some very competitive schools!), the best way to handle this question is the way you would handle any intrusion. You don’t have to respond but you do have to be polite. One possibility: “I’m thrilled to be interviewing today and learning about X University. I am very interested in attending and while I have applied to other equally competitive colleges, for all the reasons we have discussed today, I would be honored to be accepted to the class of 2017.”
Please send a thank you note to your interviewer (or panel) within 24 hours. Include something in your note that you appreciated learning from your interviewer.
Above all, be prepared, confident and be yourself. You may not necessarily impress the interviewer, but please relax knowing that it’s virtually impossible to say anything so outrageous to adversely impact your chance of admission.
Please contact me to schedule your mock interview at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-509-0021
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.