College Interview Season: The Second Craziest Time of the Year

interview college apBy Kathryn Lancioni, Founder and CEO of Presenting Perfection

With the holidays behind us and the reality of winter all around us, many of us have plans to hibernate for the next several months.  We’ve got some good books, a stack of firewood and anything else we need to enjoy the down time that January and February bring.  

But, for some parents and their kids, this is anything but a relaxing time. It is in fact an incredibly stressful time, if they have a son or daughter applying to private high school or college. By now, most kids have filled out and submitted their applications. So, the time consuming part is primarily done.  But now, as many of us remember from our own experience, comes the stressful part—waiting to hear something from the schools.

With the number of high school and college applications at record highs and the selection process being incredibly competitive, many schools have tried to streamline the components of the application process. Gone are the days where everyone had an interview for every school they applied to especially with many colleges and universities.  In fact, today, it is primarily only the extremely competitive schools that hold interviews as part of the application process.  This is a blessing for some but a sad development for many, as the interview can truly help a candidate differentiate themselves.

For those with students going through the interview process,
here are a few tips to help prepare for the big day:

Tip# 1: Research the school: Not only is it important to research the academic offerings of the school, but also its culture. How? Talk to students that attend the school, have lunch or dinner in one of the college’s off-campus restaurants, attend a sporting event or a play. By doing this, you’ll get to see what the students are like outside of the classroom.

Tip# 2: Review your background: Make sure you can tell the story of you both succinctly and elegantly.  Have a few stories about your past that are ready to share—preferably those that will help you stand out from the crowd. Get more tips on telling your story at Presenting Perfection.

Tip# 3: Prepare for tough questions: Come up with answers to the most popular questions including: “What could you contribute to our community?”, “What makes you unique?”,  “What are your strengths? Weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to attend our school?”

Tip #4: Have some questions: Be sure to have some questions to ask the interviewer about the school.  Great topics involve student life, academic diversity, sports and international opportunities.

Tip #5: Dress to impress and more: It is one thing to wear a nice outfit; but it is another to create a positive, memorable impression. What’s the best way to do this? For guys, try to find an interesting tie or tasteful different shirt. For girls, consider wearing a bold color or unique print.  You don’t want to do something too crazy but a little creativity can go a long way. Learn more about making a memorable impression.

Tip #6: Say Thanks!: It is incredibly important to send a thank you email to everyone you met with during the interview.  Be sure to ask for the card of anyone that you meet with so you have all of the necessary contact info.  Make certain to send the email within 24 hrs of having the interview.

In addition to all of these tips, another incredibly critical part of any interview—ENJOY IT!!! View the interview as your chance to learn about the school.  Be sure to ask they questions you want answered and visit the places/things that interest you.  Remember, this is your chance to get to know the school so try to make the best of it!

Need some coaching before the interviews? Schedule a consult with Kathryn.

For more Tips on how to present yourself, visit Kathryn’s site, Presenting Perfection.
Presenting Perfection offers public speaking classes and professional presentation classes to children,teens, and adults providing the tools and techniques needed to deliver the best possible presentation in any situation.


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