How to prepare for an online college interview
This year’s college admissions process is unlike any other. Gone are the days of open houses and interviews, and make way for Zoom and Skype videos and calls.
Online interviews are not new in themselves; Foreign applicants have always had the option of conducting their interviews virtually to avoid travel. The change in format will not impact what the university is looking for: applicants who demonstrate passion for their subject, enthusiasm and evidence of independent learning.
If you go for an interview, admissions staff already think you are suitable for the course based on your educational background. At this point, they assess your personal qualities and your ability to answer their questions. Again, this is exactly the same as regular maintenance.
What is different?
Starting with the obvious, losing face-to-face contact can leave some people feeling uncomfortable. Having a conversation on the internet can often get confused with questionable connections, which can seem disruptive. By now, however, universities know and understand that sometimes technology can go wrong.
That’s no reason not to check it out, anyway. Try to use a wired connection if possible, to avoid wi-fi issues, and test the video platform beforehand to find out what you are doing when you go online.
While you should always revise before an interview by reading typical questions and re-reading your personal statement, the advantage of virtual interviews is that you can use notes. Don’t write long paragraphs, but short, catchy flashcards can help. Place them around your screen for a quick glance if you feel stuck.
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Master the basics
Find a place in your home that is well-lit and has a bright, distraction-free background. Spend a few minutes in the location you have chosen and listen to the sounds that might be coming from the microphone. Once you’re happy with the location and have your outfit prepared, you’re good to go.
In terms of clothes, make sure you look stylish but also feel comfortable. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit, but wear something classy that you feel comfortable in. And don’t be tempted to dress just from the torso down. You never know what might happen – and the last thing you want is to show off your prettiest jogging pants combined with a shirt and jacket.
Unless you are wearing clothing that is offensive to others, it is unlikely that a final decision on your admission will be based on what you have worn.
From this point we return to standard care tips. Stay engaged with the interviewer – just because they’re not physically in front of you doesn’t mean you can relax on a couch and not make eye contact. Sit forward, remove all possible distractions, and stay alert throughout.
Preparation is the key
Mock interviews and practice are the best preparation. If you are lucky enough to live with someone who will help you, you can find sample questions online to browse.
The most common questions you may come across are: “Why do you want to study this subject?” “,” What made you choose this university? There is no “correct” answer to a question, but there are some things the university will want to hear.
Before you begin, make sure that you:
1) Research college and choose five things that attract you there.
2) Think about what you enjoyed studying in school and what your ideal career would be. Next, determine how the subject you’re applying for fits the two.
3) Think about the personal accomplishments, both in education and extracurricular activities, that you are most proud of and reflect on what they say about your character. Having them in mind (or in your notes) should provide a good basis for the questions you are asked.
You should also think about what questions to ask the interviewer. This demonstrates a higher level of interest in the course and also proactivity in your preparations. Ideally, this will be based on the information you uncovered during your research on the university, for example regarding a specific course of the course or perhaps the international exchange opportunities of the university.
Sometimes, no matter how much preparation and revision you do, things can go wrong. So if you experience a hiccup in the middle of the interview, don’t panic, just fix the problem and move on.
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