At seventeen, I did not have ample experience interviewing (apart from the mock interviews that Academic Decathlon requires). In fact, my college interview was essentially my first real interview. So, I ironed out the pleats in my skirt, steamed my blazer, and put my fate in the hands of the college admissions gods.
Luckily, you will have more insight into the process.
Put briefly, interviews are dependent on two things:
- Being concise.
If you can’t boil your activities down to elevator pitches, you will be tempted to drone on and on about them. The best way to prepare for the interview is to list your most important activities.Here’s a thought experiment: pick one extracurricular. Now imagine that you’re running five minutes late for it. Do you get frantic texts asking for your ETA? Or do you walk into a room that was hitherto unperturbed by your existence?If the former, then that is an activity worth talking about in great detail. How much time do you spend on it? How do you spend time on it?Answering these questions also helps us craft narratives around activities: Why are they important to you? When and why did you start them? What’s next?
Crafting a narrative around extracurriculars strengthens applications. Having a mission or purpose that underlies an activity makes it seem less like a resume padder.
- Emotional intelligence.
More specifically: charm and the ability to listen.We can all wax poetic about our hobbies. However, ensure that your interviews are interactive. Ask the interviewer questions, not only to gain insight into the school, but also to make the conversation flow more smoothly.You do not want to sit there and stare the interviewer dead in the eye while regurgitating Latin Club experiences. Similarly, you do not want to provide two-word answers and sit there in dead silence.Engage the interviewer. Have a witty repartee (and please keep the jokes appropriate). You want to be someone who is passionate, inquisitive and – most of all – able to hold a conversation like an adult.