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How to Prepare For a University Admission Interview

The admissions committee may still choose to meet with you after reviewing your application, so make the most of your opportunity to get accepted by learning how to ace the university interview.

What to anticipate from an interview at a university?

Towards the conclusion of the university application process, admissions personnel may utilize auditions and interviews to compare students who have a strong probability of being awarded places on their courses. They are more likely to be held for admission to Oxford and Cambridge, as well as for courses relating to creativity or caregiving (Gardner, 2023).

While each university and department will have its own format and duration for interviews, most are based on a conversation with the course tutor.

You might need to bring a portfolio with samples of your greatest work for some courses. This normally only pertains to courses in the arts, however candidates studying arithmetic may be required to solve an equation, while English majors may be asked to describe a poem or essay, they have written.

Regarding the interview, the interviewer will aim to keep things unexpected, but if there is anything you will be asked to do, they should at least inform you ahead of time.

Online interviews

Numerous colleges have kept their admissions interviews conducted online ever since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. In this case, you would require access to your laptop, installation of a video platform (like Zoom or Microsoft Teams), and a reliable Wi-Fi connection.

You should get information about the interview format and any important details from the institution directly. For further suggestions related to university interviews performed online, check our video interview recommendations.

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How to be ready for an interview at a university

One way to get ready is to:

  • Arranging for your lodging and transportation
  • Locating the location of the interview
  • Make sure your camera and laptop are properly configured and operating if you are having an online interview
  • Considering your reasons for selecting this course, taking notes on your application and going over your personal statement; organizing your thoughts for the university interviewer; carefully investigating the course and university; and making sure you stay current on matters pertaining to your field of study
  • Practicing a simulated University interview questions and answers with a teacher or career counsellor to see how you handle pressure and make sure your body language is appropriate

How to dress in the interview?

Dress comfortably because neither your look nor your choice of clothing will be evaluated. You may seem professional even if you’re not wearing a suit. Wearing stylish pants or a skirt with a shirt or blouse can help you make a good first impression and demonstrate to the interviewer that you take your studies seriously.

If the interview is taking place online, you still need to demonstrate to the admissions tutors that you’ve put in some effort. Should you be attending an audition for a theatre or dance program, you might need to wear clothing that is both acceptable and comfortable for you to move around in.

Things to bring along

If you have many interviews scheduled, a notebook might be useful for you to scribble down the key information. You might need to keep in mind to bring your instrument for music classes.

When you go for your interview, the institution probably wants to see a portfolio of your work if you plan to study art and design or similar practice-based subject. Typically, you’ll be asked to show it off and talk about its contents.

This cohesive collection of work should demonstrate your specific areas of interest as well as the evolution of your abilities and concepts (Carvin, 2023).

Usually, your portfolio will include completed items, work-in-progress, and research samples; but these don’t have to be exclusively connected to your academic work. Depending on the content, it may be stored in an A3 or A4 folder that is the right size. If you have completed any very big pieces, send pictures of them instead of attempting to bring them with you.

Sample interview questions for universities

Interview anxiety may be reduced by preparing your responses and anticipating potential questions. Here are a few such inquiries:

  • Why do you wish to pursue this field of study?
  • Why did you opt for this university?
  • Why did you find your A-levels enjoyable?
  • What would you say about yourself?
  • Which are your primary areas of interest?
  • What are your advantages and disadvantages?
  • What accomplishment makes you the happiest?
  • What plans do you have for your career?
  • Why should we extend a space to you?

You’ll also need to consider the kinds of questions that pertain to your particular subject and have some prior understanding of the nature of the area. A student studying biochemistry, for instance, could have to solve an issue about the distinctions between several chemicals that are easily recognized.

The interviewer for an English literature course can ask you to describe a literary work that you cited in your personal statement or might expect you to talk about what you’re reading right now. Asking them to repeat or restate the question is preferable to attempting to deduce what they were asking if you discover that you cannot comprehend it.

What to ask in an interview for a university

Keep in mind that interviews are two-way processes, so make the most of this chance by learning everything you can about the course outside of what the university website or prospectus has to offer.

For example, you may question the course tutor about the range of teaching techniques used in the program, the requirements for each year of the degree, the key qualities that are searched for in a student, and if they have any tips on how to succeed in this specific course.

Demonstrating a strong interest in your topic and extracurricular activities, together with a sincere curiosity about the course and institution, will make you appear like a well-rounded person who has the capacity to succeed in this setting.

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Interview advice for universities

Joanna Haran, head of admissions at the University of Salford, provides the following advice if you’re wondering how to make the most of the interview experience:

  • Make up your mind about where you want to study. Applicants should approach these interviews as a chance to showcase their talents relevant to the degree they have selected and to make an educated decision about their future. It’s crucial to visit the campus and the classrooms to get a sense of if this is the ideal university for you. Undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable aspects of working as an admissions tutor is getting to know our candidates as it allows us to show them around our facilities.
  • ‘We only apply for programs where we think there’s some sort of benefit, or when it’s a professional necessity for our healthcare-related courses,’ we say, so be ready for group talks. Group interviews are frequently used to demonstrate some of the necessary abilities through discussion topics. Candidates must to make sure they take part in as many activities as they can.
  • Demonstrate your abilities and zeal – “Our tutors will be looking for study commitment, organizational ability, inspiration, and devotion for their specific subject area, but additionally we work to create this a worthwhile endeavor where applicants can meet their peers and start to build relationships.”

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