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College Interviews Coming Up? Some Useful Tips

College Interviews Coming Up? Some Useful Tips

You might be getting ready for your interview with admissions officers, other university representatives or alumni in preparations for your studies abroad. While the purpose of the interview is to help a university better understand where an applicant may fit into the campus environment, it is also a wonderful opportunity for you to ask questions, convey your sincerity and things that can’t always be put down on paper. 

Some useful tips and reminders we often share with our clients…

  1. Mind your manners and appearance. Dress appropriately and arrive on/dial in on time. Remember the interviewer’s name and to say thank you at the end of the interview. DO NOT text, What’s App or take calls during the interview. If doing the interview by Skype or other online platform, ensure that you have a backup Internet connection and that no one will walk into the room during your session. 
  2. Know all the details on your application, resume and essays inside out. Knowing yourself, your passions and interests puts you in a better position to provide interesting responses to questions.
  3. DO research on the college/program you would like to attend and articulate clearly why it is THE choice for you.
  4. If you were reading your application, what questions would you have for yourself? Those are probably the questions you will get during the interview.
  5. It’s important that you are aware of what is going on in the world around you. Read the newspaper or watch the news especially in the week leading up to the interview to get up-to-speed on current events and world developments.
  6. For MBA applicants, if the interview is with an admissions officer, there is more of an emphasis on academic fit with the program and recruiting objectives. With an alumnus, it tends to be more about fit from a personality or outlook perspective. The alumnus is trying to figure out whether s/he would want to be up at 3am with you to finish a project or be proud to call you a fellow alumnus 10 years from now.
  7. MBA applicants are expected to be able to think on their feet and provide succinct answers. Schools such as HBS are looking for candidates who can make convincing arguments or statements without rambling on.
  8. Prepare examples to demonstrate a skill set. Have an example or story (real, not concocted scenarios) ready for each of the following categories: leadership, teamwork, tough decision, plans that failed, taking initiative, being challenged, working yourself out of a seemingly impossible situation.
  9. Be professional. Don’t be overly formal and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  10. Be confident without being arrogant or showing attitude.


As one of our colleagues who regularly interviews said, “the best interviews are the ones that move away from a stiff Q&A session into an engaging conversation.” 
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  1. Rechard Johon

    So much is riding on the mba application and the business school essay that it’s a shame to settle for anything less than the absolute best.

  2. Sanket J

    Good article


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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?