Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills

College Interview Tips: Combatting Nerves


Let’s face it. For some people just hearing the words “college interview” can be scary.  Like one of those cop shows where the only light in the room blazes on the poor suspect who’s sweating bullets while he tries to come up with the right answers.

Not your college interview.  So don’t worry.

Okay, you say. You get that. The interviewer isn’t your enemy and you’re not entering a torture chamber. You’ve prepared for your college interview. You’ve practiced answering questions and even have some good questions ready to ask. But you still feel your mouth going dry. What do you do?

Here are 6 tips to combat college interview nerves:

1. Arrive early. Give yourself time sit down, relax, take a look around, and get your bearings.

2. Take a short, brisk walk before your interview. You’ll help get rid of nervous energy and be less fidgety once you get inside.

3. Bring a bottle of water. Nerves can cause a dry mouth, so keep water with you and take a sip when you need it.

4. Take a deep breath. Focusing on your breath can be very calming. Try this exercise: Breathe in on a slow count of four, hold it for four, and breathe out on a count of four.

5. Greet the interviewer with a smile and a handshake. Look him or her in the eye, smile, offer your hand, and say hello. You’re taking the initiative to start the interview on friendly terms, and you’ll find it makes a difference.

6. Try “small talk” first. You don’t have to get down to big questions right away. You can ease into the interview with a bit of small talk — how the weather’s nice for a visit, how the directions were easy to follow, etc. This will give you an extra few moments to ease into things.

Every interviewer understands about nerves. You might even tell the interviewer you’re a bit nervous. That’s okay. The trick is to be well prepared for your interview and then to know a few techniques that can help make the experience as pleasant as possible.


Author: Sharon Epstein

College consultant, teaching students how to write memorable college application essays, grad school and prep school essays, and succeed at job and college interviews.

3 thoughts on “College Interview Tips: Combatting Nerves

  1. Pingback: 5 Best Tips for College Interview Success | Applying To College

  2. Pingback: Jump-Start Your College Interview: Bring Photos | Applying To College

  3. Pingback: Best Ways to Begin and End College Interviews | Applying To College

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