Preparing for College Interviews
CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert Amanda gives her tips on how to put your best foot forward when interviewing for your top-choice colleges.
2021-07-26 Preparing for College Interviews
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Preparing for College Interviews. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our.
Hi everyone. My name’s Isabella Gayoso and I’m a rising junior at Penn state university and I’m majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
And so, um, to start us off, we’ll talk about what our college. So college interviews are conducted by alumni in your area for the most part. And they’re held at a mutually agreed upon location. So that’s something you’d work out with your interviewer after establishing communication. Um, and so they’re basically designed [00:01:00] to add another layer to your application and kind of give it a boost.
And it’s a great way to show interest in the school and also learn more about it. So it kind of goes two ways. They’re interviewing you and you’re also in some way, interviewing the school and learning more about.
And so one of the application timelines do most students interview for college. So this generally happens after the applications have been submitted. If you have an early action decision timeline, the interviews will be conducted around November, December timeframe, depending on the school and the application due date.
And for regular decision, it’s generally around January, February, sometimes a little later, send this a little earlier, but again, totally defenseless.
And so what does a college interview like? Where might it be held? So interviews are a casual, low stress conversation. That’s something I can’t stress enough. It’s not a very, they’re not grilling you or anything like that. They just genuinely want to learn more about you. And so the interviewers are for the most part alumni or school representatives, but they’re not generally [00:02:00] admissions committee representatives, so they don’t have direct, uh, impact on your application.
It’s more of the recommendation has an impact. Um, and so kind of for reference mine were held. One was held on zoom. Um, in other words, how it was started in my house, know everyone was held at a Panera near my house and the last one was held at the university of Pittsburgh. Um, but it wasn’t actually for the university of Pittsburgh, I just live by the school and the person was a professor there.
CCP there. Um, and so again, informal and it’s agreed upon space mutually agreed upon. And so what kind of questions would you be typically asked in an interview? Uh, some questions would be, why do you want to tend the school? Um, what’s your favorite subject in high school right now? Why do you, what do you want to study in college?
And also why? A lot of the time, um, what’s something you enjoy doing? You’re not in class. And so by that they generally mean like hobbies or scores that kind of swell learn more about. Basically, this is where you want to shoot. You’re not like a one dimensional or two dimensional person and they can have lots of things you’d like to do.
Um, and then also like an example of an obstacle or a failure or a [00:03:00] mistake, something you learned from. Um, and then what do you want to get involved with at this particular school? So that’s also a great way to show what kind of your hobbies and interests are outside of your academics and then also a really big important one is why do you think you’re a good candidate and how do you compete with the school’s culture?
So what kind of questions can you ask the interviewer? Um, so again, this is where you want to take the time and learn about them. So what type of involvement they might’ve had at this school? What type of clubs, activities, things that they felt helped prepare them for after college and that they enjoyed, um, what made them choose the right.
Um, and that could also be really useful for making your decision later on how their education affected their career post-college. So did it help them get into grad school? Uh, both for masters, doctorate, what kind of jobs they get kind of opportunities they basically have from the school, um, how they pick their major and then what they enjoyed about it in the school.
Like what it’s strong ports, where like the curriculum, professors, the classes, that type of thing. Um, another really important ones, what they disliked about their school. And I feel like this is a question that’s almost as telling as what you [00:04:00] liked about the school, because. I feel like if you’d like a lot of things, we also dislike a lot of things.
It’s kind of a trade-off at that point. So it’s definitely good to know what they didn’t like. And then again, honestly, anything you want to know, the more enthusiasm you can show by asking questions and just picking up their brains, the better it looks for you and your enthusiasm and interest in the school.
And again, you get to learn a lot. And so what are some tips for doing the interview or your best self? So in your emails, phone calls, your communication should always be professional. So don’t use slang, don’t misspell words, make sure you’re proofreading. Um, make sure you arrive early wherever the interview is held at.
So don’t get their way after them. Generally we’ll try and get them for them. Um, dress lights, sleep. And by that, I don’t mean don’t get like a suit or tux or anything like that generally. Um, but for the most part, try to look presentable. So don’t wear like things you would use to go. Um, so make sure you’re showing lots of excitement, enthusiasm be excited like your cloud at school.
You’d probably really like it. So make sure you’re showing that enthusiasm, um, make sure you’re not [00:05:00] listening with your resume and accomplishments. This is definitely the time for them to get to know you beyond your application. Uh, I don’t know. I can’t remember if they have the application, but the admissions committee definitely does.
So they want to know more about you beyond that because they already have everything that’s in your Africa. Um, and then also make sure you’re showing your personality and identity and just basically a sense of who you are and being very genuine. And then another really important note is to send a follow-up thank you or email a follow up.
Thank you. Um, email, or if you can send them like a handwritten note, like if, uh, he did it at like either office at like a university or you have their address or it’s kind of something, you feel it out, but handwritten notes are also really awesome to give out to. Kind of make it happen in a good way.
Okay. So we’re going to do a quick poll. Um, if everyone could answer this so we could get a good sense of the grades we’re talking to.[00:06:00]
Okay. It seems like we have quite a few 11th and 12th graders that makes sense. Given the subject matter.
A few ninth and 10th graders as well.
okay. The numbers are starting to, even out. It looks like we have about two ninth graders, five 10th graders, 15 11th graders, 34 12th graders, and two. All right. Uh, if anyone wants to enter last minute, please do otherwise. I’m going to close the park. Great. Awesome. So, uh, next up is how does a student schedule a college interview, um, interviews are available in your area?
The school will reach out to you via email once you’ve applied or sometimes before you fly, but [00:07:00] generally once you’ve applied. And so one thing that’s very important that this. Um, they’re awesome to get to learn more about the school and, uh, like I’ll share interests, but if for some reason you can’t make it, it’s not something to overly stressed about.
And so my college interviews, uh, so my interviews were held in a casual setting. Like I mentioned, Starbucks. Um, they were a lot less stressful than I expected. They really felt just like casual conversations where the person was getting to know me. I was getting to know them and it was like really awesome.
Um, and the interviews were also very excited to talk about their experience. Like they absolutely love talking about their school and like what it did for them, what they were doing afterwards. So it’s really great to talk to them. The interviews were really helpful and like making my college decision later on, because I had a lot to go off of beyond like the website and even like the business and that kind of thing.
Like having someone who went to the school is really useful to kind of get a feel of school, culture, and opportunities. And so how can an interview boost a student’s applications? Um, so interviews are designed [00:08:00] to help your application not hurt it. Um, that being said, you know, definitely don’t do anything that would hurt it, but, uh, for the most part they’re gonna be.
Um, interviewers will recommend you and they’ll write about your interview and what they thought of you and that kind of thing to the admissions committee, um, interviews are definitely not something that’ll make or break your application. Uh, so if you completely blow it, generally not a big deal. If you face it also like it doesn’t have as much swing as you’re probably thinking, but it definitely can be another kind of notch in your belt.
Another, I don’t know another analogy, if not your cup, it’s basically another like, count for you. Like another thing to add you application, but it’s not going to make her.
Um, so my last piece of advice for students preparing for college interviewers is typically interviewers or alumni volunteering their time to interview students. So making this an enjoyable experience for them, genuine conversation, we’re flexible on you and in their recommendation at school. So again, don’t go in very stressed out, let’s stop your college or don’t list off your [00:09:00] resume and that kind of thing.
Just go in and have a good conversation with them about why you went to school, what you want to do and about what they liked it. You’ll have a great interview.
Okay. We have one more poll and we would love to know where you are in the college application process.
okay. I see a few people that are researching schools working on their S. Some haven’t started yet. That’s totally fine. Um, wow. Two people are almost done. That’s very impressive in July.
Okay. So we have seven people who haven’t started 42, who are researching schools, 18, who are working on their essays, five [00:10:00] who are getting their application materials together. And two who are almost done. All right. So we got through the presentation part of that very quickly. So we’re going to move on to the live Q and a, um, uh, I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving onto the live Q and a, uh, read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an answer. As a heads up, if your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Okay. So our first question is if a school doesn’t reach out to you to schedule an interview, does that mean anything?
Um, so for that generally, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s more, uh, kind of the availability of alumni or interviewers in the area. [00:11:00] Um, for example, for that, uh, The majority of schools, I applied to how to interview, but one of the schools that didn’t was MIT. And then I ended up getting into my TA. So I don’t really think that interview has any impact on it.
It really just depends on the appeal, but billability and your area and how many students are interviewing and how well they have to go out and do these interviews.
Um, our next question is could the students reach out to the school for an interview or. Can only colleges reach out to the student. Um, so I guess kind of, that really just depends because for me, I remember for most of the schools, they sent out emails around the application timeframe saying that they can contact you saying like, if you could do an interview and they said not to contact them, um, I don’t know if that’s different now.
And honestly it might be different because zoom has the ability to interview anyone. Um, so I guess that’s kind of one of those [00:12:00] things, the kind of watch out for communication from the college and see what their guidance is. And if they haven’t said don’t reach out then maybe that you could reach out.
Um, but for the most part, they will be reaching out to you. It’s not on you to reach out to them. Our next question is how long is an average interview? So mine went from about 30 minutes to over an hour. Um, and so generally, like the ones that were longer were because it was like a conversation and we honestly just weren’t paying attention to the time.
Um, so I would say plan for about 30 minutes to an hour, but try to like leave some time afterwards to be available. So that way, if you’re having a really awesome conversation, you don’t have to cut it short to go somewhere else.
Our next question is what resources are there to help students prepare for the interview or see a mock interview? Um, so I know CollegeAdvisor definitely. Resources for that, both mock interviewers and different preparation. Um, and then also [00:13:00] another good thing that I use was asking older students or students who have recently graduated from my high school, um, kind of where, like what their interviews were like, what kind of questions they got, because also a lot of the times, like, at least for me, I was from Pittsburgh.
Um, like the interviews that I got with the senior years a day I got, so I pretty much had the same questions and that kind of thing. So that’s also a really good kind of way to.
Our next question is how should we avoid any awkwardness during the interview and what are some questions we should avoid asking? Um, so I would say, uh, to kind of who our awkwardness is, avoid asking questions you shouldn’t ask. And then also try to like, again, it’s a conversation. If you have like a long space when I was talking, maybe say, like, ask them a question about their experience or say, um, is there anything else you’d like to know about me?
Anything you think like anything you think that I wouldn’t be a good fit for the school? That’s something I’d like to ask. Even like internship interviews now in college is what about me? Does it make you feel that I’m a good fit? [00:14:00] Because it’s also a good way to kind of talk about why you are a good fit.
So if they’re saying like, I don’t think you’d enjoy this part of the culture, you could say, well, like. So, I don’t know. I think that’s what is a great question to ask. Um, but then also some questions avoid asking, um, generally anything that’s, you know, like don’t, well, don’t ask about partying. That’s definitely not a good thing for you.
And then also don’t ask about things, uh, like how much money did you make after college? Cause you went to the school. So just generally things that are kind of really out of left field, I would avoid that. Try to stick to more of the table. Topics is. I do think, uh, as Isabella said in the presentation, I do think the question of what did you like least about a school is really telling and super useful, and you always get interesting answers.
Um, okay. Our next question is why did you choose Penn state over MIT and what qualities in schools should we be looking for when we apply? Um, [00:15:00] so I guess I’ll answer the second part of that first, but, um, so I think for qualities you wanna look into school is really just like, you have to spend four years there and it’s going to have a huge impact on like what kind of person you grow into and your career and that kind of thing.
So make sure you pick a school that has strong academics or programs. So I’m engineering has, it has strong engineering program. So making sure it has a good program for what you’re doing, um, Uh, another thing that I looked for kind of towards the end of the college application process, which I wish I did earlier was how, like what kind of jobs are people getting basically from the school?
Um, so one thing that I liked about Penn state and there was another schools that I liked the sport too, is that they had a lot of really good. Relations. And they had like a big alumni network. So that’s actually like, that’s been really helpful in getting internships and stuff for being in college. Um, another thing is kind of just if you vibe with the culture and that’s, I feel like a very vague answer, but you’ll kind of see what I mean.
Hopefully if you can do on campus visits is, um, like I pretty much all my schools, I got to do like an overnight visit, [00:16:00] uh, where I eat. Like spent the whole day with students or even like stayed with students overnight in their dorm. It’s like on their floor. And it was really awesome for me to get like a good idea of the culture and what I did.
And didn’t like about it, like kind of what did they do all day? And like, uh, yeah, just like what the dorms were like, that kind of thing was super. Um, so I guess like most important things is what kind of things can they do with their degree from that school for the specific degree you want from it? Um, what’s the culture like, and then, like I said, but yeah, so basically culture.
And what kind of things could you do in school? Uh, financial aid is also a big one for a lot of people, but definitely varies from person to person and what type of scholarships they give out. Um, as for me, why I picked Penn state around. Um, um, I would say like, it kind of, it is a one thing that I can point to.
It’s a variety of things. So one of them was, uh, financial aid was a big one for me. I could go to Penn state for free, or I could take out a lot of loans and MIT. And so that was a one, I don’t think I would’ve gone just like. One or the other, just for that reason, because there’s much of other things that I liked about Penn state.
Like I talked about, I really loved like [00:17:00] the connection Penn state had, um, with different like companies and alumni and that kind of thing. And I also, like, I spent a lot of time by lots of maybe like four days at both schools, um, my senior year and I got to stay overnight and dorms both times and I really enjoyed the culture at Penn state.
Um, it was a lot of. You had a lot of like hobbies and times for those hobbies. Like, I’m definitely a person who really enjoys my hobbies. Like I’m in a rock climbing, I’m actually getting a skydiving license right now. So I have, so I have a lot of different things I like to do with my time. And so I felt like a Penn state, I would have more time to explore those things while also being ahead of my.
And I definitely don’t think that, like, one thing that I always give you advice is don’t pick a school based off like the name of what, like what name you want on your resume. It’s more about what kind of things you want to fill up your resume. So like a Penn state, I’ve gotten the opportunity on so many different project teams and undergraduate research, which is really as being a freshmen.
Um, I bought in a bunch of internships through Penn state, like. Worked [00:18:00] at like a plastics company outside of Philly. After my freshman year, I worked at space X last semester in LA. Um, I work, I’m working in Denver this summer for Lockheed Martin and I already set up an internship next summer at a startup in Atlanta.
So I would definitely say that. You can fill up your resume with whatever you want to fill it up with. It’s just kind of where you want to do it. So I wouldn’t stress too much about the name of the school is basically the, the end goal of this long speech I’m giving. Yeah, no, that’s very true. Okay. Our next question is how can a student leave a good first impression?
Kind of a big question. Yeah, so. Um, so I would say definitely being functional. The first thing they’re going to notice, like, were you there before them, did you arrive at the same time or did you arrive 20 minutes later? Um, which are wearing, because I think I’ve read something somewhere. This is like the first impression you me and like the first five or 10 seconds.
And after that you can definitely change things, but. You know, go on and have a good first five or 10 seconds. So be on time, make sure you’re dressed well, um, smile, [00:19:00] be friendly. Um, don’t be closed off and then, uh, yeah, and just be enthusiastic as well, I think is also really good way to lead a first good first impression and asking good questions as well.
So I can, don’t ask anything out of left field asking things like, what did you like? And that kind of thing is always good. It’s always a good starting question. I feel like absolutely. Okay, our next question is about how long until you hear back from a school after applying, I assume about interviews, does it vary, also are interviews for scholarships different than a college interview.
So, um, about how long after you hear it back? So I think I remember for the early action one that I did, um, ho I heard back maybe like a couple days. Okay. I don’t remember the exact date. It was like, uh, November 1st is the due date and my, my interviews November 15th, I think the other ones were a little bit later.
We were like two to three weeks because remember most of mine were held in February and then the applications were due January. And [00:20:00] then, um, does vary. Yeah, it definitely does vary by school and kind of a timeline they’re on. And then also, maybe they don’t think there’s anyone available in your area the most.
And they realize there is. So you might get a little bit later than someone across the country or something like that. Um, and then our interviews for scholarships is different than a college interview. Um, so for my experience, yes. Um, so the scholarship ones that I do. Like at least the scholarships that were tied to schools and weren’t like external ones.
The one I did for, uh, I think NC state that was like a full ride scholarship. They basically had like a panel interview and it was a phone call. So it was very different than going to Starbucks and talking to alumni. And that was like the committee. Um, I think for other scholarships, like Penn state, like the honors college, which sounds like a scholarship that was also a little bit more tense.
And some of my like Ivy league scholar, like interviews for some reason, but, um, that one was a lot more of kind of going over my resume more. It felt more like a job kind of interview. Um, so I would say scholarships for interviews are more about, like, they’ll ask you more questions from the resume, from my experience, [00:21:00] which could be totally different than what scholarships you’re planning for versus like for the school.
They just want to get to know you. So I guess it’s kind of like the difference from my experience with.
Our next question is if you’re planning on going out of state, how would you go about an interview and is zoom the best bet? Um, so it really just depends like, uh, pretty much all my schools for interviews were out of state, but if they had alumni, my area, um, so that’s why I do them in person. And so I would say right now it’s probably a little different because it seems a lot more popular than it was back when I was applying to colleges.
So right now, Like, obviously there are cross countries. It was the best day. Um, but yeah, so I wouldn’t say like, going out of state, doesn’t always necessarily influence the availability of interviewers in your area, unless it’s like a state school that I’m like
our next question. Is there some colleges hosting interviews before applications are open, not [00:22:00] case would you need to talk about your resume? Um, I would definitely say it depends who you’re talking to. Um, and when I said don’t talk about writing a resume, I just need more don’t list it off. Don’t be like, I do this, this, this, like you can say, like, so yeah.
So I’m captain of the cross country team. And I look across got like, like kind of weave into the conversation and be a little bit more tactile about. Straight off listing it off, but, um, um, and then colleges hosting interviews, wrappings open, um, again, yeah, this definitely depends. Like you’re talking to like admissions, like committing person then.
Yeah. You probably, definitely like mentioned that, but again, they’re going to have this information where they’re actually reviewing your application. Like, I, I think I would still stick with most of the same advice where I would say like, it’s like anything more you can show about yourself and especially like any qualities that are maybe like harder to show.
So like, uh, like school that places big emphasis on like their stem students, um, getting a lot of humanities courses and, um, then you get to talk about that during your essays, but they’re not going [00:23:00] to get that just from the resume. So talking about how you love history and that you want to be a physics major, like that would be a really good place to kind of show up that level or that later.
Our next question is, would the dress code be business casual? Um, I think it definitely depends on the environment, but that being said like overdress and the very, very overdressed is never bad. So I would say, uh, yeah, definitely like a tux or that kind of thing, but like business casual product look really good and that kind of thing.
Um, yeah, so you can be flexible. I think I wore jeans for some mine and. Khakis and a blouse that the other, I think the ones I do at Starbucks are a little bit more casual, but again, the schedule is always the same Beth.
Our next question is, are there any topics to avoid in an interview? Um, so I think I touched base a little bit on this earlier, but so definitely, um, things like parties, that kind of thing. [00:24:00] I think, um, things like, do you, like, do you think the school like had an impact on your salary? I don’t really think they want to hear questions like that, but they’d prefer to hear, like, why do you like this school help you get to where you want to be in your career?
That’d be kind of a better way to ask that, um, other topics to avoid. Um, maybe like I had bad PR for the schools, so maybe don’t like Penn state don’t bring like Jerry Sandusky and things like that. So like, I need like bad, like PR maybe try to avoid those because like, if they have an issue with like, whatever, like the scandal was about, they’ll bring it up.
What you say? Is there anything you don’t like about the school? Um, so definitely don’t bring those up specifically. I feel like that just kinda sets a bad tone. Definitely. Um, our next question is, are there any advantages or disadvantages of interviewing over the summer rather than after submitting your application?
Um, again, it really depends who you’re [00:25:00] interviewing with, but I would say no cause. The information is going to get recorded either way. Like they’re not going to have for the most part, they’re not going to have the entire admissions committee sitting there. So they’re not going to have that like memory.
It’s more like they’re going to have a paper recommendation or an email or something from whoever interviewed you. So whether you do that before the school year or after like the applications are submitted, I don’t really think it’s going to be a big. The difference that might be is like your preparation for us.
So you might know more about the school in December then you would have in August. Um, so that came in here to show more enthusiasm, or also making sure that you’re giving off, like, if they have qualities, they look for their applicants, which is generally on the website somewhere. Like you would probably have a better idea of those in December.
So you’d probably be able to like, kind of weave those into your answers and your interview a little bit better later on. So, but I would say if you’re like really into school, In researching it forever. He knows everything about it. And that kind of thing then doing the summer versus December probably wouldn’t have too much of an impact.[00:26:00]
Okay. And next question is, is it required to do college? Uh, definitely not. So, uh, like I said, not everyone gets offered one just because of availability of like the interviewers. Um, and then even if you can’t go for whatever reason, like you’re out of town for the entire window they gave you or, um, maybe you broke your leg and you can’t drive it in here.
Whatever the reason is you definitely it’s not require. Um, like I said, it can only, it’s like a boost to your application, but it’s not going to count against you. And so, yeah, but again, like if you can do it, it’s great to show your interest and like, unless you have a really terrible interview, your problem, like, if it’s like an average, it’ll probably still come out really great on paper.
Um, so I, unless you like actually really, really mess it up, it’s not going to hurt your application. Okay. Okay. I like this question. How has the best way to try not to sound cocky about ourselves? Um, that’s definitely a good one. Um, [00:27:00] I like what I said about like listing off your resume. I think that’s kind of generally what I use as trying to avoid showing off.
Cause there’s definitely ways you could talk about your interests and your accomplishments. That sound very like humble. But those generally come with, you’re telling like genuine story. So you’re, if you’re talking about how, like, I don’t know, maybe like in the conversation, the presenters talking about funny memory, she has run across country and college and you then tell a story about you running cross country in high school and you were captain and you’re like, you just like, kind of weave into the story.
I think that’s a good way. But then if you sit there and you go, yeah, some captain, the cross country team, and I do this, then I’m like all state this and that kind of thing. Then that’s kind of comes off to class. So I think just honestly, like how you would talk to your friend, like I’ve assumed most people don’t try to brag or show off to their friends.
So it’s almost like, uh, like almost like talking to an old friend or that kind of, or like your parents, friends, like you don’t show up, at least those people don’t show off, like your parents, friends, like you just talk about, you’re interested in what you’re doing and that kind of[00:28:00]
our next question is how do you recommend we prepare for the interview for someone who is not great at making conversation? Um, I would say, just try to have like, uh, like if it’s in person, just try to have like a bank of questions memorize, because that’s definitely something that I do for like internship interviews is because at the end there’s always, they always ask you what questions do you have?
And they expect you to ask a lot of questions. Um, so like I have like a list of questions in my head that I just kind of pull from every time. Um, And so like, I think that’s really useful because then that way, if there’s like a, like a long conversation, you can be like, yeah. So, um, I talked about this, what did you like, what the school is?
That kind of thing. So like questions like that. What did you like? What did you not like? Those kinds of things are always really great. And just having like a bunch of them at rise will kind of keep you from feeling awkward or like not having anything to talk about. And then end of the day, He used to be, to keep a conversation going is asked first and talk about themselves because people love talking about themselves.
So then don’t have to do anything at [00:29:00] that point. Yeah. Just say, yeah, that’s so cool. Um, I would also, I also think a great idea is if there’s a teacher that you feel comfortable with or sort of another adult figure in your life, maybe not your parents. I feel like I, it wouldn’t be helpful for me with my parents.
Um, But an adult who’s like, who you still feel comfortable with. If you’re like, Hey, could you take 30 minutes? And we could do a mock interview because they’ve probably been through lots of those. And so you could just feel your way through the conversation and get comfortable with it before having to do it for real.
And also anyone who’s doing college interviews knows that it’s awkward. Like they’re not going to judge you for it. Okay, our next question is, do you keep in contact with your interviewer after the interview? Um, so this kind of depends on you and. At least for me, like [00:30:00] I kept in contact and asked the questions about the school, like after I had gotten into them and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go and that kind of thing.
So I like emailed them and said, Hey, Hey, I loved our conversation back in February. It was like, it may or not may April. Um, and like, what can you answer these questions? Um, I know from like one of my friends that I interned with, she was telling me that for her interview, her school, she kept in contact with after.
Cause I had like events for like people from her area who got. Um, so she kept in contact with her at least through the summer. Um, but yeah, I guess it kinda depends like basically like doing the job you want to do after graduation. That could be really awesome. So then you can ask some questions throughout the college about like what they did.
And so, yeah. Kind of like an informal mentorship type of a thing, but yeah, so you’re not required to keep in contact with them. It’s just kind of up to you, personal preference and then basically your connection.
Our next question is, do you recommend emailing admissions officers of universities and how does that affect one’s application chances? [00:31:00] Um, I would generally say, like, it depends what you’re emailing to ask with your emailing to escalate it’s on the FAQ page. I’d probably say jump to, yeah. Um, but if you’re emailing to ask like about a very special circumstance, Um, I can’t think of anything, but like, if you have a very special question or suspect things can’t be answered and you can’t figure it out, then that’s something you could definitely email them and ask.
Um, and then again, for asking about like, whether you can get an interview for college, um, I guess, like, it depends on like what kind of communications they’re sending out. Um, I remember specifically my year, they told us not to reach out, asking for interviews. They would reach out to us. And so I feel like if you kind of do, it’s almost like a little bit annoying to them, so they have the answer.
So I would say if they tell you not to do not do it.
Our next question is if you’re meeting in a restaurant, is it appropriate to order something while waiting for your interviewer to arrive? Um, yeah, I would say so, like, uh, obviously like you’re eating and I kind of thing, just, you know, Like [00:32:00] slightly. Um, but I remember like my interviews, like Starbucks, we both got coffee and then I think up in air, we actually got food as well.
So yeah, I think it’s definitely appropriate. Always make sure to ask them like, um, they re issue definitely arrive after you, but like, uh, like if they arrive after you, like, they should have say, oh, I ordered the coffee. Did you want to get anything like, uh, can I stay on line with you? That kind of thing, or I was going to order some dinner.
Would you like also, would you also like some dinner and that kind of thing?
Uh, I know we covered this during the slides, but, uh, the next question is what are some of the main questions you will get asked during an interview? Yeah, so, um, yeah, just definitely in the slides, but also, uh, yeah, so, so questions, like, why do you want to go to school? What interests you? Um, what kind of things do you do in high school?
What’s your favorite subject? What do you wanna major in, um, Why do you think you’re going to candidate? Like what about the culture fits with your personality? Or why do you think you’re going to fit into the school culture? Um, that kind of thing, [00:33:00] generally the, of the, they just generally want to know about you and what you want to do there and that kind of stuff.
Our next question is how does the interview began? Um, so it’s pretty much like. You’re like waiting for them or you referencing time and, uh, you, if you’re getting food, you order food or like coffee or whatever. Um, And then the generalist sit down and they’ll say something like, oh, I’m. So tell me a little bit about yourself.
And that should only like a good place to be like, oh, well, I go to such and such school here, or I live in the city. It’s like virtual. Um, and then I won major and this in school, in high school, I’m involved in these types of things. And I really love doing these things. And, uh, I think the reason why I really liked the school was because of this and that.
So like just generally, like, tell me about yourself. Who are you, where are you from? What do you want to do? And like, it’s like, who, what, when they’re white, it’s kind of like, so like, who are you? What do you wanna do? Where are you from? Uh, why [00:34:00] do you wanna go here? That kind of stuff is generally good list of things to run through from the beginning of the interview.
Our next question is, will the interviewer give you feedback after the interview ends through email or no feedback at all?
I didn’t receive any feedback, but I also didn’t ask for it. So if you wanted some feedback, you could definitely like send out questions to ask them. Um, I do that at the end of my internship interviews now where I’ll say, uh, that’s kind of the question of like, is there anything about me and that you think I’m not a good fit for the school or this job is what I do, but I’m like, that’s kind of a good place to get some feedback.
And then also, like, I think, uh, at the end of interviews times I asked like, at least for my technical ones, I asked, uh, like, did I get them right? Uh, is there anything that like, Touched upon that you would’ve liked me to get. Um, so you could probably ask for feedback, but I would say it’s a lot less, uh, cut and dry or black and white than you think it is.
So like their feedback might be like, oh, don’t be so stressed and things like that. [00:35:00] So, um, I would say for the most part, if you want to be bad, could definitely get it and just be, make sure you’re like asking for it and like a polite way. And that kind of thing. Our next question is when is the best time to begin the college essay or the common app?
Um, I’m generally having, at least I started, I think in July before my senior year, our way late June eventually, but then I was like really working on it in July. And that’s generally what I do with my students. I normally have them kind of try to get it done before the school year starts because, um, your senior year things will be super busy because you’re also like for the majority of people, that’s kind of where you’re at the top of whatever activity.
Um, so you’re like officer, captain, whatever. So you have more responsibilities and your activities that you did in previous years. Um, so like I was super busy my senior year and I’m sure most people will be. And then on top of that, like you have to go to school eight hours a day. If you have a part-time job, you gotta do that as well.
Um, so you have a common FSA done before. It gives you more time to focus on the supplemental essays and on like the actual logistics of the applications, [00:36:00] rather than trying to write this whole long essay Revit it. And I kind of thing. So my. That’s time to get it is whatever will allow you to get it done well, um, by the time your school year starts,
uh, our next question is do all colleges require the completion of the common app. Um, so some schools are on a different application system. The majority are on the common out now, I think, uh, but like I know like the UC system. Texas D system. Uh, but definitely you, UC system has their own application and my team has their own application.
And it said like, you don’t need to do the common app with them because they have their own, they know they’ll have you fill out. But most colleges like to apply. They will have you do it through the common app, like the full common app, like the generic part. And then they have like supplemental questions and essays.
They’ll have you write for. The school.
Our next question is if you [00:37:00] get chosen to have a virtual interview with the faculty member of your major or an alum, which one is better, um, I would say probably the faculty member, just because they would have a bigger impact on the admissions decision versus an alum who’s, you know, just went to the school, but a faculty member currently works at it and they might.
Like I, at least for grad school, it’s like, that’s definitely how it works. Like if you need to have that more basically recommend you permission as undergrads, like totally different, at least in that sense, but definitely having a faculty member kind of like sticking up and saying like, oh, I really liked this person is I think holds a little bit more weight than, than Milan.
So I would, especially if it’s like a pretty major. So I would say if you have the choice to do the faculty member, our next question is when is the best time to begin supplemental? Um, so it depends on the school application, deadline is, and which when you’re going forth, you’re on early versus regular.
Uh, [00:38:00] I think I did them kind of sequentially, but you could definitely do them in parallel. Um, whereas I had five do early action and then I think for regular applications I had to do. And so I think I did like the easiest ones, like my safety schools first, I did like Penn state and like NC state first.
And then I did like Purdue and Michigan and Lawson did MIT. But like when I say last, I mean, it’s. End of September. So I had, and that was my only thing that I was working on until November 1st. So I had like the entire month of October to work on it. Um, so I would say like kind of same thing as a contract, whatever it could be amount of time to get done well.
Um, and then, yeah, definitely just make sure that there’s a lot of times, especially for the more competitive schools that you’re giving yourself lots of time to refine them and get people to look over them and edit them versus like a state school and especially like a safety school. It’s a little bit kind of.
It holds less weight on your application, basically. So it’s a little less of a big deal with, it’s not as perfect dish, like your Ivy league application, that kind of stuff. Our next [00:39:00] question is can interviewers view your essays from your application? Um, I think it depends on the school. So I know for my Schrier wants to Penn state they code and they asked me questions on it, but I know for like, uh, like Princeton, for example, like they do not have any my application materials.
They have, they knew nothing about me other than I lived in Pittsburgh. So. And it really just depends on the school and that’s when you could definitely ask them an email, be like, do you know anything about me? Like what kind of, uh, like definitely write it more tightly than saying it, but like, uh, basically what kind of information they have or that’s something you can ask?
Uh, or you’re pretty much because out within the first like four minutes of the interview where they’ll say like, tell me about yourself, or they’ll say, oh, so I know from your application this. And so you’ll be able to figure it out pretty quickly, whether they have any knowledge at all.
Our next question is what type of research should we do about a school before participating in an interview? [00:40:00] Um, so I would say, make sure they have the program, which trick you’ve applied to know whether they have your program. And, uh, and then also, uh, some things are only going to be like activities you’re interested in getting involved in.
Cause that’s a good talking point. Like if you do growing and I have really good growing like club or varsity team or something. Talking to them about like growing the day. Really good thing to talk about. Um, also like culture, like I know I did this for my ass, so I knew it for the, uh, the interview is, but like talking like kind of figuring out what type of things is the school value.
Um, and that’s like a little bit more of like less cut and dry, like going on their website. Like sometimes you can like, look at Paul qualities. They like look for on there and their Africans on their website. But then also talking to people who like, if you have any connection school, like being someone from your high school then went there.
Or like my friend that went there is a good way to. Like culture questions are going on and visit. Uh, I know visits were a big thing for me. Like I visited Columbia before I did the interview, so I could talk a lot about like things I knew Columbia like stressed and like [00:41:00] value during my interview, which was really useful.
Um, so yeah, definitely a kind of make sure they have their program, what things she would like want to get them home and then also culture and, uh, trying to like basically show how you fit the culture throughout the interview.
Okay, we’re going to take a quick break and I want to tell you what you can do. If you’d like to work with one of our advisors from our network, from over 155 advisors and admissions officers, if you want, you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of this.
From there just right in consultation and alive team member, we’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. Okay. Back to the Q and a, our next question is if interviews are optional, would it be bad not to do an interview? Um, [00:42:00] I would say it’s definitely not bad. It’s not going to count against you.
It’s not going to like hurt your application, but it’s kind of like a missed opportunity type of thing. Um, where you just didn’t get the opportunity to kind of like show your interest. And, um, but again, it doesn’t count against you because they know, like there could be a thousand reasons why you couldn’t make the interview and it’s not fair of them to count that against you.
Our next question is where do most colleges interview you or does it vary from college to college? Um, it varies from college to college, but for most of mine, it was pretty much just set it up with them. Um, so I guess I could probably go through and just list off like how each, like, which ones I did. So I’d like for university Michigan, with the zoom.
For both Penn state Schreyer and then NC state like scholarship. It was, uh, well actually, no, the NCC scholarship was over the phone and that was a panel interview. Um, for Shire, it was downtown Pittsburgh and it was kind of like an interview of that, which makes sense. Cause it’s like a state [00:43:00] school, but, um, we’re lucky would like set up time slots and you went and they talked to.
Trier and I interviewed you basically. Um, and then for like my Ivy league school, I be, you can like more competitive schools, like Columbia, Princeton, and duke. Those ones were just ones where I was told, oh, like, if you want to interview, I forget exactly what the logistics were, but you basically like said yes, I want to interview.
And then like, I think the interview reached out to me and we reached out to them, but I have their contact info. And then we just like mutually agreed upon a place over, um, You know, so, uh, definitely depends from college to college, but I would say more competitive schools generally tend to make it more flexible.
Our next question is where can we find good examples of good college essays? Um, so I’m sure CollegeAdvisor definitely has plenty of those, some on our blog. And then, um, I think I also did a lot of, uh, some Google searches in that. But, uh, one thing I [00:44:00] generally like, like at least I try to stay away from, and I generally get my students to stay away from is reading too many of them.
Like, I feel like if reaching money, it almost like puts you in a place where you can’t think of anything other than those assays. So like any creative ideas you would have had. It’s like, if someone tells you to list all 50 states and goes, here’s 30 of them, let’s the other 20. Now we can think of her.
The 30, they gave you not having as kind of like the same. At least for me and different people’s brains work differently, but I always have people brainstorm and at least write a fourth draft, a lot of things, and then use the example of good essays for more, for like the mechanics and kind of like, uh, transitions and different things like that, unless, or the idea.
But, um, yeah. Good examples. CollegeAdvisor website, Google searches. I also had like people from my high school that were a year or two years older than me, but had gotten into good schools and I would just ask them like, can I see your essay, that kind of stuff. And it was like a little, it was helpful for me to know what kind of things that.
What kind of qualities, it’s not like the ideas, but what kind of qualities? And she gave me some, my essay. I think if you’re not going [00:45:00] into 12th grade, if you’re going into grades that are 11th or 10th or ninth or something, and you start reading a bunch that might be really productive, um, to sort of get that into your subconscious.
But I think I do think that if you’re going into 12th grade and you’re trying to write your essay right now, it might be a bit destructive to try and read. As many college essays as you can. Cause you’ll only be able to think of those. Okay. Our next question is what should we do if we are asked about our opinion about a piece of negative PR, um, it’s very unlikely that they’d ask that, but I think also, uh, Hmm, that’s definitely a tough one, but I think like their opinion would be like, at least for me, I would try to stick more to the sides of like, I don’t think I have the information to kind of answer that all the way because you, you don’t go to the school.
So like, for example, like I can raise money to use our articles as I want about like the Penn state [00:46:00] Sandusky Scott scandal. But I was like 13 at the time I had was it wasn’t on my radar and I wasn’t there. I didn’t go to the school. It wasn’t like part of like the administration. So then kind of saying like, oh, like I think like, uh, there’s definitely like.
I’m trying to move away from the question honestly, but also like saying like, I don’t think I have all the knowledge to answer that question or to like, have like a very strong opinion on it is always kind of a good bath because they shouldn’t really expect you to have an opinion on negative PR about the school.
Because again, there’s so many different pieces of news and stuff out there that if you’re not a student or administration number of faculty member, that you probably don’t have a lot of firsthand accounts.
Okay. It looks like we’re running low on questions. So if anyone else has questions, please enter them at this time. But our next question is can a college interview gone bad, hurt your application? Um, I would say like gone bad as in gone, like very badly, like you offended the interviewer or something like that.
That [00:47:00] probably they’d probably write that to the school. Um, but at the same time, And there’s more weight to good interview. There is a bad one because it could also like for bad one, it could be like theater of your second personally, or that you might said something. And like most colleges won’t count that against you because they weren’t there.
They can’t know for sure what happened, but versus a good interview. Um, my hold a little bit more weight, but at the same time, like you would have to do something pretty bad for it to hurt your applications. All honestly, cause even like an average interview, they’re gonna, it’s going to sound pretty decent on paper.
Pretty good on paper. Yeah, unless you like really found the interviewer, it’s probably not going to hurt you. Okay. Our next question is how do you answer? Tell me about yourself without sounding generic. Um, well, so I like whenever I have to do the, of. Friendships now I just say, like, I start off with who I am.
So I go, oh, I’m Isabella. I go to Penn state, here are my majors. Um, and then I go, this is the type of thing we’ve got on campus. You’d say these are the type of things I [00:48:00] do in high school. Um, I always go, I’m really passionate about so-and-so and like, tell them about a hobby or something. Interesting. Um, and then you got.
It’s not like I’m really interested in like majoring this in college, um, as fine. And so like for me though, like, I don’t think I really need that back then, but now I would have said, uh, I’m a shit in aerospace engineering because my dad’s a pilot and I grew up watching planes and that kind of thing. Um, so just like generally tell you, tell them about yourself because you’re not a generic person.
So if you just tell them about who you are and what you like to do, you.
our next question is how do I get over my social anxiety before an interview? I, it gets kind of severe, like shaking, sweat, stuttering, et cetera. Okay. Okay. Um, I would say like, practice. Like when you practice flight, it’s almost like a muscle memory thing, um, for anything, um, or like a reflex. So it makes it feel a little better.
Um, so [00:49:00] at least for like, when I was. Pairing do internship interviews. My freshman year, we did. I like I was in different like things like having to do practice, but I did a lot of practices with different people, like with like mock practices with critters of like, uh, professors with upperclassmen, with friends.
Um, so I would say like, probably start off with what you feel comfortable with. Like, they can be like your best friend or your parents do like practicing, then move on to some of the, maybe more uncomfortable, like. Like an older friend or something like that. And it’d be like a teacher then maybe like a neighbor, you know?
I mean, Like slowly up the level of like uncertainty and like discomfort. Um, um, and that’ll definitely both of that repetition of the practice. And then also practicing putting yourself in uncomfortable situations will help a little bit with that. Um, so at the end of the day also like, uh, again, like you don’t have to do an interview, so if it’s really going to like stretch it out, Where it’s just not worth it.
I would devastate just stay away from it because it’s not going to count against you for not doing it. And you don’t want to risk like your mental health or [00:50:00] your comfort and that kind of thing just for a 30 minute interview. So, absolutely. Okay. Our next question is, um, what exactly counts as a bad dinner.
Um, so there’s not really a black and white answer for this. So, um, but again, like I think anything that would leave like a very, very bad impression on, cause I think almost like anything for the most part you could say or do, could it be almost like, oh, they didn’t mean it that way. I’m just taking it the wrong way.
Or they came off as, or they were nervous, that kind of thing. So like, unless you like, like see something really terrible. Like racist or very offensive or something like that. I don’t think it’s going to be a bad interview. Um, because for the most part, they understand that you’re nervous and that, um, maybe you misspoke and that kind of stuff.
So I like, I think honestly, the only thing that would be a bad interview is do offended or like had a very like offensive opinion or statement that you made during the interview.
[00:51:00] Okay. Our next question is. If childhood is brought up, should we continue on with the subject or try to change it? Um, so I like for childhood, I mean, I kinda just. Like how it’s brought up. Like, I feel like the interview move the conversation along if you’re spending too long as me, they don’t want to talk about, but yeah.
Like if they talk about your childhood should like, cause they want to learn about like, um, like you basically it’s like where you grew up, like, why you’re the way you are now? Like what kind of interests you had? How did they evolve over time? That kind of thing. So I would say like childhood is also a good thing to bring up.
Cause it’s something that definitely would not be in college applications. So something good. Just kind of give them an idea of who you are. Our next question is where can we find a good website to search? How much financial aid colleges give or how much scholarships? Like how many, yeah, how much in scholarships?
Um, so [00:52:00] the majority of schools will have like their scholarship, uh, tiers and like, things like that. Like listen to their websites. I know like university of Alabama, like literally lists out, like if you get the score and your sat, this is how much money we’re going to give you. And that kind of thing. Um, so schools are a little less cut and dry as like Penn state gives out.
Some money, but it really it’s like really like hit or miss. It’s not always like very predictable global. So like for that, I did a lot of my research, basically. I just like on the internet, like forums, like people’s experiences. Cause she was, shall we say. Forums the greatest assault course. Um, and then I think also financial aids, a lot of schools like, uh, like the elderly leaks will stay like they meet full financial mutual need or things after, but like, they’ll say that somewhere on like the financial aid page.
And so generally what that means is that they’ll use your FAFSA number to determine how much your family could pay and then just cover the rest of it. So if you’re fastest as your home, Contribute anything like, it’s not an exact number in the past number verse, but they’re going to give you, but like, I think mine said like my parents contribute like [00:53:00] some out and then the financial aid that they gave me made the cost of schools, like three grand, less.
That kind of stuff. Um, so it really just depends on like, like, uh, depends on the school, but like the school I’d say it’s always a good place to start. If there’s a lot of like, uh, kind of information, just like going on different forums, like looking up online. I think perhaps scholar was a good resource when I was doing it, but it’s done a Google search.
You can’t find on the school website, the school website is always a good first place to look. Our next question is what should I do if the interviewer acts in appropriately? Um, so it definitely depends by like, you know, obviously how inappropriate it was and then, and like how comfortable you feel like if something that made you feel very they’re uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to be like, hi, or like, say like, I’m so sorry.
I have to cut this short because. The thing that I have to go home, that kind of thing. Um, or if they’re saying something that’s making [00:54:00] you comfortable, you can even just say it like, ah, that makes a little bit comfortable. I prefer if we moved over to a different topic, um, but like the end, it depends your response to nationals.
They do. But then the day, like they’re making you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to just say like, I need to go that kind of thing. Um, but like be very polite obviously when you’re leaving, but just, you know, like, oh, like, uh, something happened to my dog. I gotta go. I like. Okay. I think this is going to be our last question, but can you talk about your home country and how it impacted your life when an interviewer asks you about yourself?
Yeah, for sure. Cause it’s especially, uh, like their home country. Like, you know, us, or if it is the U S like at that’s has a big impact on who you were. And so that gives them another layer. Because even if you talk about your essays, like there’s something different by hearing someone talk about their experiences, then reading about their experiences.
So, yeah, definitely talk about that. Um, and how it, like, it’s always like a great thing. People were super interested to learn about people [00:55:00] complimented places. So like it’ll never be a bad talking point.
Okay, so thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight and Isabelle, thank you so much for presenting. All right. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about college interviews and here’s the rest of our webinar series. So tomorrow is on asking for letters of recommendation.
Have a wonderful night, everyone. Bye.