A Guide To Handling University Interviews
You’ve worked hard for almost two years on your A-levels, you’ve sorted through dozens of possible courses to find the one you want, and finally you’ve been invited for interview. Your whole life feels like it is hanging on that one event. No pressure then…
In truth, university interviews are nothing like as daunting as they might first seem. Remember, universities want students for their courses as much as you want to take the course, so if you have the right grades, the right attitude and the right interest in the subject, they will want to make it easy for you to choose them.
Handling university interviews – preparation
The better you prepare, the better you will perform at your university interview, and the less you will worry. Here are a few essentials:
- Know what you are doing – make sure you have all the details of the place and time of the interview. If you can find out the format and the number of interviewers, then you will know what is waiting for you as you walk in.
- Know your stuff – take the time to thoroughly research the university, the course and your chosen subject. If you are up to date with the latest news in your field, this will demonstrate a real interest and enthusiasm.
- Practice for your interview - get your friends, family and teachers to ask typical interview questions. Just make sure that you don’t get so practiced that your answers sound rehearsed.
Handling university interviews – on the day
When the big day comes, make sure you have had a good night’s sleep and that you allow plenty of time to get there. You should dress in a way that looks and feels smart, without looking like you are going to a wedding. Be yourself, but the smartest version possible. And don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone!
Handling university interviews – the interview
When you go in for your interview, try to relax. Remember, they are not trying to trick you or catch you out. If you are right for their course, they will want you as much as you want them. Here are a few things to be aware of during your interview:
- Be confident – think about your body language, make sure you meet their eyes when you are talking, listen attentively and try to smile a little however churned you feel inside.
- Be assertive – don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat or rephrase a question if you don’t understand or if you need more time to consider your answer. Give yourself time to think rather than saying the first thing that comes into your head like Homer Simpson.
- Be interested – show your interest and enthusiasm by asking questions about the course and the university. These can be questions you have thought about in advance or anything that occurs to you on the day.
- Be polite – even if you feel the interview has been a disaster, you should be good natured and polite to make sure that you leave a good impression. It may have gone better than you thought, so don’t sabotage it by being negative or stressed as you leave.
Finally, as with everything in life, you should live and learn. Think about what went right and what didn’t go so well in your interview and use this to improve your next interview performance.
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