Here’s some college interviewing advice for you: keep an eye out for “the turn.” Don’t know what “the turn” is in a college interview? That’s ok. We’re about to tell you. The turn is when the college interviewer shifts the focus to selling his or her university rather than asking you questions about yourself. When you first get there, there’s a good chance you’re going to be asked by your interviewer to tell him or her a little bit about yourself. Maybe then you’ll be asked about your favorite extracurricular activities, your favorite courses, books, and what you’d do if you had a weekend free with no set plans. But eventually, the interviewer — and this applies to college interviews and to job interviews — will turn the conversation to what you’re there for.
Since you’re applying to college, the interviewer will tell you why his or her alma mater is a terrific school. Maybe they’ll talk about the athletic teams or the great psychology department, or a wonderful experience they had during a homecoming celebration twenty years ago. Whatever it is that they choose to talk about, listen, be engaged, and ask follow-up questions. People love to talk about themselves. They’ll come away from the interview with more positive thoughts. So let them talk about themselves. Let them tell their stories. Don’t be bored. This is a good thing — it’ll positively impact your evaluation. It’s the same reason people are happy when they put a pen between their teeth. That pen forces them to smile and smiling leads to happiness. A similar idea applies to this situation.
Exactly when that turn takes places also is a great indicator of how well your interview is going. If that turn happens two minutes into the interview, if the interviewer starts selling you on their university at that point, chances are you’ve already really impressed them. If, however, the turn happens with a minute left in the interview, it was probably just added on as a courtesy because the interviewer felt obliged to make the turn. In this case, the interview probably didn’t go so well. So look out for that turn and try to get it to happen earlier rather than later. Be polite, prepare for questions in advance, dress well, and demonstrate your intellectual curiosity.
While you’re here, check out this video on what not to do on college interviews!Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Interview Advice, College Interviewing Advice, College Interviews Advice, Ivy League Interviewing Advice, University Interviewing Advice
Since it’s college interview season for Regular Decision applicants, we wanted to give college interview advice to students who aren’t necessarily great interviewers. If you’re a blob, don’t interview. Blobs, as defined now, are students who show no demonstrable personality, who don’t interact well with people, and don’t leave a positive impression in peoples’ minds. If asked about their favorite activity, maybe they’ll say “chess club.” But they won’t expand further on that answer. If an interviewer makes a joke — even if it’s not funny — they won’t even make an attempt to laugh because their social skill-set is depleted. These students are out there — maybe you’re even wondering if your son or daughter fits this description. It’s possible they do. And if they do, they should absolutely not interview for colleges!
If your child is a blob, we urge parents and students not to pick up their phones from any number they don’t already recognize around this time of year. Because interviewers either call or email. Emails can be ignored. With calls, you have to be careful not to accidentally pick up. So before this call comes in, perhaps you should discuss with your child if they think they’d interview well. If they do but you don’t, a little push might go a long way. Having a bad college interview can indeed hurt their chances for admission, even though the college interview isn’t one of the biggest factors in admission to highly selective colleges.
If your child is insistent upon interviewing, then at least check out our video on what not to do on college interviews. We imagine they make some of these key mistakes. It’s better to have no interview than a terrible interview. If you think you may come across as a blob — or if your parents do — then we urge you to avoid phone calls from numbers you don’t know in the coming weeks. Play it one step ahead of the folks who want to interview you!Categories: College Interviews Tags: Advice on College Interviewing, Advice on College Interviews, College Interview Advice, College Interviewing Advice, University Interview Advice
It’s college interview season for those who applied Regular Decision to colleges and we wanted to walk you through some college interview behavior and how it can influence an impression. Specifically, we’re going to speak about nonverbal behaviors. Often times, one’s nonverbal behavior can unknowingly convey messages to an interviewer regardless of whether or not you intended this to be the case. So it’s important to be aware of your nonverbals and, so you are, let’s walk you through a few behaviors.
Are you familiar with the hand steeple? It’s what Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s hit series “Shark Tank” is doing in the photo, a gesture he holds throughout much of the hour-long show. The hand steeple is a rare nonverbal cue that conveys confidence, confidence, and more confidence. It’s a gesture that you don’t see very often but should you see it in a board room, prior to a 50-meter freestyle, or at a poker table, know that you’re in the presence of someone who is utterly confident about something. As someone interviewing for college, we urge students not to display the hand steeple. Students are being interviewed and, as such, they have no business displaying such a confident gesture. It’s arrogant and it risks turning off your interviewer. Who wants to go to bat for someone who is utterly confident about themselves and their chances for admission to your university? Quite the opposite.
Another nonverbal cue is touching near the neck. Many people who are nervous touch their neck. They’re quite literally — and unknowingly usually — massaging their carotid artery to lower their heart rate. If your heart rate is going through the roof during the interview and you find yourself sweating and stuttering, then by all means do whatever is necessary to calm yourself down. If that means touching your neck, then touch your neck. But know that it’s a distraction and it conveys nervousness and anxiety. Try to avoid touching your neck and parts of your face while being interviewed. It’s important to not appear too confident, but it’s also important not to appear too nervous.Categories: College Interviews Tags: Behavior on College Interviews, College Interview Behavior, College Interviewing, College Interviews, Interviewing for College
We’d like to offer you some tips on college interviews. After all, if you applied Early Decision or Early Action to a university, there’s a good chance you’ve heard or will hear from an alum of the school to which you applied. That alum is likely calling you to schedule your college interview. Are college interviews the most important factor in the highly selective college admissions process? No — absolutely not. But every factor matters and a great interview or a terrible interview can indeed make the difference in your candidacy to the college of your dreams.
So let’s start off when you first get that phone call from the alum. First, if you happened to give the college to which you applied your home phone number, let anyone who might be answering the phone at any point during the day know to expect it. If you don’t, the message may never be relayed, or someone may think it’s even a prank. That would not be good! If you happen to answer the phone, be very polite (duh!). If the interviewer suggests meeting for the interview on either Saturday afternoon or Wednesday evening, that doesn’t mean you have the option of doing it whenever it’s most convenient for you. If you have soccer practice, miss it. It’ll be alright. If you have a date with your girlfriend, miss that too. Oy vey. Priorities people!
Our next tip (we’ll be offering many in the coming days) is to dress appropriate. Dressing appropriately does not mean wearing sandals. It does not mean wearing shorts. It means dressing up. Do guys have to wear a suit? No. But they should be wearing khakis and a buttoned down or something along these lines. They should not be wearing sneakers. And applicants should not be arriving late to their interviews. They shouldn’t even be arriving right on time! Arrive early. Scout out the location beforehand. What if it’s at a Starbucks and you chose the wrong Starbucks? Wouldn’t it be bad to figure that out right as your interview is supposed to start? Yes it would!
We’ll have more tips for you on your college interviews in the coming days!Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Interview Tips, College Interviewing Tips, College Interviews Tips, Tips for College Interviewing, Tips on College Interviews
Here’s a college interviewing tip for you: Send a thank you note! You’d be amazed how many students either forget to do this simple thing, are too lazy to do it, or don’t realize that they should. Writing thank you notes after college interviews — and for any and all interviews in life — is important. It’s standard operating procedure. This isn’t something you should blow off. For our students at The Ivy Coach, we tell them it’s mandatory. And when you send that thank you note matters a great deal too.
Should you send the note a few days after your college interview? Or maybe a couple of weeks after? A month? The answer is no, no, no. Your thank you note should go out hours after your interview. And why is that? Because interviewer evaluation forms are filled out online and interviewers quite often fill them out immediately after the interview. They do this because if they don’t fill it out right away, they might forget some of the specifics that you mentioned in your interview. For instance, when asked to describe your intellectual curiosity, they may not remember your love for historical fiction days after the interview ends. But they will remember it immediately after so be sure to get that thank you note over to them!
In your thank you note, don’t just write a cursory, template note. Use specifics. Write about some of the specific things that your interviewer mentioned about the school to which you’re applying. Don’t just write that the school has a beautiful campus. If your interviewer discussed his love for a class, write about that experience they shared and write how you think you’d have a similar experience from what it sounds like. Demonstrate that you paid attention during your college interview. Too many students send generic thank you notes if they choose to send them at all. Avoid these pitfalls!Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Interview Tip, College Interviewing Tip, College Interviews Tip, Ivy League Interviewing Tip, University Interviewing Tip
Since it’s the season for college interviews, we figured we’d give you a few college interview tips so that you avoid the mistakes that so many college applicants make. During the interview, pay careful attention to your interviewer. If you talk too much, there’s a good chance that your interviewer will check out. Does he or she have glazed eyes? Did he take out his iphone to scroll through some emails? Did he look around the room a bunch, maybe check out the clock? If such is the case, you need to stop talking. Being successful at college interviewing is as much about knowing when to say nothing as knowing when to say something. The college interview, after all, is an opportunity for your interviewer to talk to you — as much as it is an opportunity for you to talk to your interviewer.
In many cases, interviewers are far removed from college. They go to work every day. They miss the good old days when they could hang out with their friends and go to class and learn. They want to reminisce about their college experience. They want to share their story. They don’t often get to do that anymore. So don’t deprive them of their opportunity. People love to hear themselves talk — so give your interviewer a chance to talk about himself or herself. You’ll find they’ll rate you better after. Take an interest. Ask questions and listen to what he or she is saying. Don’t ask general questions. Ask questions that directly correspond with their experiences. If your interviewer wrote for the newspaper at the school to which you’re applying, ask them about that experience. Maybe you’d be interested in writing for the newspaper?
Here’s another tip: Don’t give one word answers when you are asked questions about yourself. If asked your favorite class, don’t just say English. Talk about your teacher. Talk about why English is your favorite class. Talk about some of the books you love and why they’re your favorite books. Talk about your love for writing. That sort of thing. Don’t go on uninterrupted endlessly, but do try to share stuff about yourself. This kind of information is what’s going to set you apart from other candidates on your review. Your interviewer will have stuff to write about rather than just listing your favorite class. And that kind of detail on a review can make you come across a whole lot better to college admissions counselors!Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Interview, College Interviewing, College Interviews, Ivy League Interview, University Interview, University Interviewing
We’ve got some college interview tips for you. If you’re a rising senior, summer is the perfect time to start preparing for your college interviews with alumni. Start thinking about how you’re going to answer certain questions like, “Tell me about yourself” or “What’s your favorite book and why,” or “If you could be any fictional character from a novel, who would you be and why,” or “What is your most significant accomplishment?” You don’t want to sound rehearsed by the time you do go on your college interviews but not preparing is a mistake that too many college applicants make.
Applicants who don’t prepare will stutter when they’re asked their favorite book. Or maybe even worse, they’ll name a book that they’ve most definitely read for school like “The Great Gatsby” or “Catcher in the Rye.” College interviewers want to know that you love learning…and that you love reading. Reading books that are required reading at your high school does not convey a love of learning and reading. Reading books for fun does. So if you’re not a reader, spend the summer reading. Read lots of books and all kinds of books. It’ll help make you more interesting. It’ll help give you things to write about in your college essays. It’ll help give you some talking points in your college interviews. You should absolutely devote a portion of your summer — whether it be every night or every other night or even once a week — to reading for pleasure. It’s that important.
Another tip we’d like to give you is to never answer a question with a phrase like “to be honest.” Why would an applicant say such a phrase? Maybe it’s a force of habit. Maybe they didn’t mean anything by it. But saying “to be honest” means that they may not have been honest previously or they had to make a conscious decision not to be dishonest. So just don’t say phrases like this. It blocks out everything an interviewer is going to hear directly after it. They often just hear that phrase over and over again in their heads. Just as they do when an applicant repeats the word “like” over and over again. Don’t do that either.
Check back soon for some more college interview tips! And check out this college interview video!Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Alumni Interviews, College Interview Tips, College Interviewing Tips, Tips on College Interviewing, Tips on College Interviews
Many colleges over the years have done away with on campus interviews by college admissions counselors and/or selected current students. Instead, many colleges — and in particularly the highly selective universities — have turned almost exclusively to alumni interviewers. Alumni interviewers can range in age from fresh out of college to well into their 90′s but what unites them all, typically, is a love for their college.
Some alumni choose not to interview for their highly selective college because they find it disheartening that so many of the students whom they interview get denied admission. They’re surprised and sometimes even angered that a student they gave a glowing review wouldn’t earn a spot at their alma mater. Just because a student interviews well and the alum happens to like this kid doesn’t mean he should get admitted. The alumni interview is a small piece of the highly selective college admissions puzzle.
Maybe it’s narcissism. Maybe it’s an unfamiliarity with the highly selective college admissions process. Maybe it’s misplaced anger. Any way you cut it, college alumni interviewers are a valuable tool for admissions offices. They are (ideally) salesmen for the college. They rave to prospective students why they should attend their alma mater. They have passion. And they’re in your neighborhood…it’s not like you typically have to travel far to see them.
We just don’t understand why college alumni interviewers get upset if their interviewees don’t get in. The interviewers don’t necessarily know the students’ test scores, their grades, what their college essays and recommendations are like. And that’s not even all of it. Take a chill pill, alumni interviewers. Your highly selective college is just that — highly selective. That means not everyone gets in. That means most don’t. That means the students you interview probably won’t either. And it’s certainly not a reflection on you!
Check out this newsletter on what applicants shouldn’t do on alumni interviews.Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Alumni Interviewers, Ivy League Alumni Interviewers, Ivy League Alumni Interviews, Ivy League Interviewers, University Alumni Interviewers
Let’s talk about college interview questions. When you go on your college interview (whether it’s with a college admissions officer, a current student, or an alum of the university), you should have questions prepared in advance to ask the interviewer. It’s a part of the interview that always happens. It’s the wrap up: “So do you have any questions that I could answer?” Don’t ever shake your head or say “no.” You must always have questions! And these aren’t questions you should prepare on the spot! These are questions you should prepare in advance.
If you prepare a question for a college interviewer on the spot, it might well sound something like, “So, does Duke have small class sizes?” Or maybe, “What do students do outside of their coursework?” Those questions are lame! They are totally unspecific and they show that you really haven’t researched Duke University prior to your interview! Lots of universities have small class sizes! What do students do outside of their coursework? They pursue their passions. They play the violin. They play tennis. Come on now.
Your questions should cite specifics. Cite a specific professor’s class that you sat in on and say what you liked about it. Follow that up with a question that can be more general about other classes at Duke. It asks a general question that the interviewer can respond to but it also shows how you’ve not only researched Duke but also visited! Ask about Krzyzewskiville and what it was like as a freshman to sleep in a tent outdoor Cameron Indoor Stadium (but don’t just ask basketball-related questions as Duke is much more than a basketball powerhouse). Anyway, you get the idea. The game in the college interview is specifics and your questions at the end of the interview should reflect this.Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Alumni Interviewing Questions, College Alumni Interviews, College Interview Questions, College Interviewing Questions, Questions for College Interviews
It’s the season for Ivy League admissions interviews! Maybe you got a call on your cell phone, maybe there was an email in your inbox, or maybe when you got home, your mom let you know that your interviewer for Princeton called to schedule an interview. The reason we’re listing various ways you can be contacted is because we don’t want you to be surprised when your alumni interviewer reaches out to schedule your alumni interview. If you’re not surprised, you’ll handle it better. Maybe you’ll be more polite and eager. And that’s exactly how you should be.
Is your Ivy League admissions interview by an alumnus or alumna the most important component of your college application? Absolutely not. It’s in fact one of the least important. The alumni interview is actually intended to satisfy alumni who want to be involved in the affairs of their alma maters. Do admissions officers read their evaluation forms? Of course. Do they sometimes sway admissions officers and give them insight into an applicant that otherwise doesn’t come through in their application? You bet. It happens. And therefore you’ve got to prepare and you’ve got to avoid the pitfalls of so many college interviewees.
To close, we’re going to give you a few quick tips. Don’t make your interviewers continually ask questions. If they ask a question, don’t respond with a “yes” or “no” but answer in a few sentences. Expand. Demonstrate your love for learning and discovery. Show how you think and craft an argument. Don’t sound or appear pompous. Arrogance in college admissions interviews is a major mistake. You can’t really think that you’ll get a positive review from your interviewer if you display arrogance. Lastly, ask questions, show your knowledge of the interviewer’s alma mater, and don’t forget to say “thank you!”Categories: College Interviews Tags: College Admissions Interviews, Ivy League Admission Interviews, Ivy League Admissions Interviews, Ivy League Alumni Interviews, Ivy League Interviews