You’ve got a college interview. OMG. NOW WHAT!?!? Take a deep breath and read on.
Here are my 5 Best Tips for Interview Success:
1. Relax. It’s Normal to Be Nervous. Use these 4 relaxation strategies to help ace your college interview:
- Arrive early so you can look around.
- Take a brisk walk to shake off jitters.
- Breathe! We forget to do this all the time.
- Bring a bottle of water. Nerves can give you a dry mouth—you don’t want to feel like you’re chewing on a fist full of Saltines.
2. Decide On 3 Things You Want the Interviewer to Remember About You. This is a great way to feel more in control during your interview. If you decide on three ideas beforehand, you’ll never be fishing for something to say.
What should you choose? Any activity, accomplishment, goal or value that’s important to you. Think about:
- Ways you’ve been a leader.
- How you’ve contributed to your sport or school.
- Your best qualities (You’re thoughtful, determined, loyal, etc.)
- Your goals.
3. Be Prepared to Ask and Answer Questions.
- Anticipate the types of questions you’ll be asked and practice answering them. (Don’t try to wing it. It doesn’t work.)
- Have questions ready for the interviewer.
- Tip: Don’t ask questions that are easily answered by the catalog or website.
- I give you practice questions to ask and answer on my website.
4. Body Language Counts.
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
- Sit up straight.
- Make eye contact.
- Don’t fidget.
- No gum or candy. (True story: One of my students kept reaching into his pocket, unwrapping and sucking on Starbursts, then shoved the papers into his pocket and wiped his hands on his pants.)
- Dress nicely. Like your mom would be proud of.
5. Follow Up Right Away with a Thank You Note.
- An email is fine, but if you want to stand out also send an old-fashioned, hand-written thank you. It’s one more way to make an excellent impression, which is exactly what you want.
Remember: A good interview is an exchange of information and ideas. Be prepared, be comfortable and enjoy.
I’ll be writing about more interview tips, so stay tuned.
College Interview Tips: Is it Okay to Ask for Something to Drink?
College Interview Tips: How to Interview with an Alum
College Interview Tips: Combatting Nerves
Interview Tips: How to Interview with a College Sports Coach
Sharon Epstein is a Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, teaching students around the world how to master interview skills, write stand-out resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, FaceTime, Skype and email. Visit my website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.