Here’s How Students – Especially Those Who Tend to Be Introverted – Can Make the Most of Their College Admissions Interviews
College admissions interviews, when available, can be a great way to learn more about the schools to which you’re applying while also adding a personal touch to your application. They also give students the opportunity to further demonstrate their interest in a particular college or university. Interviews can be stressful for anyone, but often introverts find these one-on-one conversations particularly difficult. Quiet students who may be uncomfortable talking about themselves and their achievements may feel like they are at a disadvantage during this part of the application process, however, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Introverts, and even all applicants, who let their genuine interests, passions, and personal strengths shine will leave a lasting impression, regardless of how shy they might be. Whether you’re an outgoing student, or more on the quiet side, these college interview tips can help you make the most of your experience with an interviewer.
Get as Much Background Information as Possible
All personality types will benefit from researching beforehand and it’s especially important for introverts, who usually dislike feeling like they’re being put on the spot. Avoid any curveballs by knowing the school you are applying for and the person you are speaking with inside and out. Thoroughly research the campus, student community, professors, and courses of interest. In addition to the university’s website, read any recent media placements or press releases, connect with current students, and review the institution’s social media channels. Additionally, research your interviewer beforehand to get a sense of his or her position, personal interests, and background.
Write Your Own Brag Sheet
Many students, especially those who are more introverted, can have a hard time discussing their personal achievements, which is a recurring interview topic. In order to make this part of the conversation flow more easily, write out points you would like to focus on beforehand. Consider incorporating extracurricular activities you are involved in, classes you are passionate about, and impactful summer experiences. Write down a list of achievements that you are most proud of and review these notes before an interview. Looking back at your brag sheet will give you a confidence boost and help you answer tricky questions.
Have a Game Plan for the Unexpected
Even the most well rehearsed applicant encounters a challenging question occasionally. Introverted personality types generally prefer time to process before responding, but many candidates worry that pausing will have a negative impact on their interview. However, applicants shouldn’t be afraid to stop and think for a moment before answering a tough question. Generally, interviewers who ask tricky questions do so to gauge how an applicant approaches a challenge. Use this as an opportunity to let your critical thinking skills shine through and give yourself a minute or two to come up with a nuanced, one-of-a-kind answer.
Engage with Your Interviewer
While staying true to your personality is essential, so is demonstrating your enthusiasm to the interviewer. Even if you normally avoid small talk, respond to questions about your interests with more than one word answers. Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you will fit into a university’s campus. Similarly, demonstrate your enthusiasm by dressing appropriately, making eye contact with the interviewer, and sending a thank you note to him or her following the interview.
Colleges are looking to build a well-rounded class made up of passionate students who will make an impact on campus, not just social butterflies that know how to charm a room. If you struggle with one-on-one interviews, take time to create a game plan and practice beforehand. It’s important to be prepared, but don’t think that you need to be someone you are not in order to impress an admissions interviewer. Be the best version of yourself!
If you need helping preparing for an interview, finalizing your list of best-fit schools, or determining which interests to highlight, our team of expert admissions counselors is here to help. Contact us today for more information on our college counseling services!
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