How to Ace a Virtual College Interview
I highly recommend Gabrielle Glancy, she is just the all-around best! My daughter, who never gets excited about school, could not stop talking about Gabby and what she learned in those workshops. She went into the workshop skeptical and came out inspired! Gabby is the one! Parent, New York City
In the old days, when I worked in admissions, we MET the students we interviewed, face to face, either on campus when they came for a tour, or at a local cafe.
Sometimes we sent an east or west coast representative to meet our candidates and report back to us what they saw.
These days, it’s all virtual!
Although in 2021 students are used to having their classes online, they don’t often have the experience of meeting on ZOOM an important person who holds their future in the balance.
At this time of year, I always do mock interviews. I ask students to pick one school, their top choice, to interview for. I ask them to dress before the interview, but I don’t tell them anything else. The idea is to simulate a real-life college admissions interview — and for those, you never know what you’re going to be asked.
After a 20-25 minute “mock” interview (during which I take notes), I debrief the student about what I saw. “Too many “hmmm’s” and “likes,” I might say. Or “When you try to explain what happened when you got that C, don’t put yourself down.”
Although I don’t want to spill the beans and give you the questions I generally ask my students, I do want to give you some tips about how to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. Which reminds me, if you have the opportunity to interview, take it. When I worked in admissions, we always remembered the students we met in person, and these days, more than ever before, a personal touch could tip the scales in your favor.
So here are some tips to help you create a positive and memorable impression for your virtual college interview:
Do a Tech Test
Make sure that your internet connection is strong, your phone or computer is charged, and your microphone and camera are working.
You might want to connect with a friend right before to make sure everything is ready to roll. Test your mic and your camera. BE sure you’re technologically ready.
Create the right atmosphere
Sometimes when I interview a candidate, the cat decides to make a visit. While this can be amusing, it can also be distracting. Take a moment to look behind you at what the interviewer will see. And make sure the lighting is even. Backlighting can cause a halo-effect which will make it difficult for the interviewer to see your face/eyes. You don’t want to have to interrupt the interview to pull down the shades, so check the lighting ahead of time.
This is the moment to turn off all notifications, let your family know you’re going to be engaged for a specific period of time and do not want interruptions. A smooth, uninterrupted interview will create a calmer experience and ultimately make a better impression. Since these days people are often distracted, checking their messages, their social media, their texts, it will be refreshing if you and your interviewer, even though you are using electronic devices to communicate, are not distracted by anything!
Dress for the occasion
Although you may wear yoga pants and sweatshirts while you’re in virtual school, or even pajama bottoms or tops, for the interview, try to wear (at least on top) what you would wear if you were doing it in person. Be comfortable, but neat — clean lines, snappy look. This will also help you feel more attentive and attractive, which will boost your confidence in the long run. So dress for the occasion!
That motto is not just for the boy scouts!
You should do research on the college at which you will be interviewed. Know their basic statistics ( how many students, acceptance rate, test optional or not) and have a good sense of what’s important to them.
These days, it’s easy to find that out.
Just go to their website and look at their mission statement, peruse the site and see what they say about themselves. This will teach you a lot!
Here are a list of schools with their interview policies.
|College||Interview Policy||Interview Purpose|
|Hamilton College||Strongly recommended||Evaluative|
|Wake Forest University||Recommended||Evaluative|
|Washington University in St. Louis||Optional||Informational|
For guidance on preparing for a college interview, feel free to reach out or book an INITIAL Consultation and I will help you every step of the way!