Top tips and Guidance for University Interviews
Hello everyone! While I am aware that not every university or subject will interview prospective students before they are actually accepted, many students are required to have an interview as spaces on courses can be extremely limited and competitive! So here are some of my top tips on how to prepare and what to expect so that you can fly through your interviews successfully and with ease.
- Don’t make lie in your Personal Statement and make sure you know what you wrote about
In my interview, I was asked about a Sports Leadership qualification that I had and what that involved. This threw me off guard as I had forgotten that I had wrote about it in my statement and I wasn’t expecting to be asked about it. Interviewers may ask about any topic within your statement so be prepared to speak about all aspects of it, even if it doesn’t seem at all related to the topic you plan to study at university. Even more importantly, DON’T LIE about knowing things or having qualifications that you don’t possess as you will be caught out and asked about anything that seems exaggerated and nothing looks worse than a scrambling liar in an interview!
2. Research before you go
Reread any literature that the university has sent to you such as prospectuses and letters and read any information that you can find on the university website, especially anything relating to what you want to study there. Make sure you are familiar with the course structure and content so that you can ask any questions that you may have and answer what attracted you to it. Remember, knowledge is power and the more you have researched and know before you arrive and have your interview the better and more well-informed you will come across.
3. Don’t just answer questions, contribute and ask questions too
Elaborating on replies to questions will allow you to showcase more of your knowledge, experiences and interests and the more questions you ask the clearer you will be as to whether the subject, university and tutors are right for you and you will be better equipped and prepared in the long run if you are later accepted and enrol at the university. Asking questions and posing debates also shows your enthusiasm for the subject which tutors always look for in a prospective student.
4. Be enthusiastic and confident
Leading on from the last point, if you don’t do any research or show any interest in the subject on offer then you will come across as disinterested and unprepared. Although you may feel out of your depth in a new environment and speaking to a highly intelligent peer, you must try to be confident, assertive, inquisitive and enthusiastic to receive an offer to study. Remember, if you receive an interview offer then you have already impressed your peers with your personal statement and achievements so believe in yourself!
5. Try not to panic and stay calm
Interviews are highly stressful and many people feel out of their comfort zone but interviewers are looking for candidates that can rise to the challenge and overcome difficulties, obstacles and demanding situations and to appear to be comfortable and confident even when they are feeling terrified. Studying at university is a huge test and you must learn new skills fast and adapt to the changing environment so you must possess and show these abilities from the offset.
6. Expect to be tested
Most universities will test you in some form to get a good understanding of your base knowledge of the subject and how you react in such a situation. At my interview, I had to look at some images and try to do as much visual analysis as I could and to speculate about what I could see. Interviewers will try to prompt you and steer you in the right directions so don’t worry if you struggle, these tests are designed to challenge you and make you think, just do your best, don’t give up and always guess even if you aren’t sure!
7. Get someone to give you a mock interview
Ask a parent, teacher or friend to ask you a few questions in the style of an interview and you will have a better understanding of what to expect in your real interview. Hopefully this may highlight any areas that you need to look over or develop and you should feel more at ease, prepared and relaxed when the time comes for your university interview.
8. Try to be aware of current affairs and news related to the subject
Sometimes interviewers will ask about a current issue or development within the subject you plan on studying so knowledge of recent news is useful to know. Showing that you are aware of such material also highlights your keenness to learn more information about the topic and once again shows your enthusiasm and initiative
9. Figure out locations and travel time beforehand so that you aren’t late
Look for maps and directions on the university website as early as you can as knowing the exact location of the room and building that your interview is in as well as the time it will take you to reach it will help ensure that you arrive at your destination punctually. First impressions are very important so if you arrive late to your interview, you will already be giving a bad impression and demonstrate that your organisation and time management skills are lacking.
10. Dress professionally and conduct yourself accordingly
Even if you are not given a strict dress code, dress professionally and comfortably. Again, first impressions mean a lot so try to present yourself well in terms your dress, politeness and demeanour as actions often speak louder than words.
Thanks for reading, Kristie