How to Help My Child Prepare for Their College Admissions Interview

Young students sitting around a table in library with books and laptop. University students doing group study in library.

Preparing for college admissions interviews can be a nerve-wracking prospect. Your child may be looking to you for how to prepare for the college admissions interview, and since it’s probably been some time since you went to college, you may not know how exactly how to respond. Here are some tips for preparing for a college admissions interview.

Why Do Colleges Have Interviews?

Why exactly is the college admissions interview for? A college admissions interview is the chance for the school to learn something about your child beyond the numbers. To get a sense of who they are and whether or not they would be a good fit for the school. A college would like to see that a student will add something to the student body and that they will contribute as well as learn. The interview is for letting your child shine in a way that has nothing to do with test scores and academic awards.

This is not the place to remind the interviewer of how highly ranked they finished in their class or how many honors courses they’ve taken. The interviewers know all that already. This is a place to talk about what excites the student about being at college and at this college in particular — and what they think they will bring to the college experience beyond grades.

Why Should You Prepare for College Interviews?

Although you don’t want your child to sound overly rehearsed, preparing for college interviews is very important, just as preparing for a job interview is important. The college interviewer would like the interview to be a pleasant conversation, and if your child is overly nervous, they may have difficulty relating on that level.

By practicing interviewing, anticipating questions and otherwise making your child ready for the interview, you can take some of the mystery and fear out of the process and help make it go smoothly.

How Do You Help Your Child Prepare for Their College Admissions Interview?

Again, think about how you would prepare for a job interview. Have your child research the school, from its history and academic programs to things like clubs, sports, Greek system, faculty and special projects the school may be involved in. This is a great way to show that your child is truly interested in attending the school and can also help your child determine if the school is a good fit.

You’ll also want to help your kids come up with questions to ask the interviewer, just as you would in a job interview. Again, these questions should reflect the child’s interests and their interest in the school — not basic demographic information or stats that can be looked up in the student handbook.

Do practice interviews with your child where you pretend to be the interviewer and ask questions the interviewer is likely to ask. This may feel a little awkward at first, but it will help your child refine their interviewing style and get comfortable with a one-on-one conversation of this nature.

What Do You Do Once the Preparation Is Done?

When you’ve done all the preparing you can, you do one of the hardest jobs a parent has to do: let your child fly on their own. You’ve given them the tools, now you just have to wait and trust that your child can use the lessons they’ve learned to give a great interview.

Make sure you know exactly where the interview is taking place well in advance and plan to arrive 15 minutes early just in case. Make sure your child is dressed appropriately. Don’t try to sit in on the interview, as you won’t be sitting behind your child in class once they’re enrolled.

And once the interview is over, give your child plenty of support either way. If it doesn’t seem to have gone well, remind them that not every student and college are a good match. It’s better to find this out now than halfway through sophomore year.

What Do We Do After the Interview?

Once the interview is over, it’s a good idea to have your child send a personal email thanking everyone on staff who interviewed them. It shows maturity and can help keep your child in their minds.

After that, it’s just a matter of waiting to see if you are accepted! Your child will probably not receive specific feedback on their interview — and whether they are rejected or accepted will be based on a variety of factors.

Let Ecliptic Help You Prepare

You can never be too prepared for those college interviews. Further improve your student’s chances by engaging Ecliptic Financial Advisors and our individualized college admissions counseling for students. We can help you hone the skills and approaches your child needs to get into the college of their choice.

To learn more about what we do, sign up for one of our free workshops today. You’ll not only learn about ways to approach the college selection process, but also how you’ll pay for it without ending up with unmanageable debt when you’re done.

 

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