The part of the college application process that makes people the most nervous is probably the interview. At the interview you have to "sell yourself," and nobody is there to help you. At least with your application you can spend time on it, have someone else check it, and you basically have plenty of time to complete it. At the interview you're asked questions and have to think quickly, and answer immediately. You must explain yourself well enough so that you don't seem stupid, but not talk so much that you cause the interviewer to lose interest.
Colleges have two methods of interviewing. Some have student interviewers, usually seniors, who make you feel very comfortable, partly because they are close to your age. Other colleges have an alumnus (or alumna) as an interviewer, or even a member of the college staff. It seems that these interviewers are more interested in your knowledge and view of specific topics. But no matter who your interviewer is, there are a few things you should do to get ready for the interview.
1) Know your SAT scores, Achievement test scores, and grade point average with class rank.
2) Know your extra-curricular activities and have a few you can concentrate on and talk about.
3) Be up-to-date on current events. Many times an interviewer throws questions about them at you. Also, have an opinion on controversial issues and be ready to explain and defend it if necessary.
4) Be ready to talk about the most recent book you've read and the book you liked the most.
5) Be ready to explain specific reasons why you want to go to that college.
If you're ready with these, you'll be at an advantage. It's an awful feeling to be at an interview and be asked a question that you don't know the answer to. If you go prepared, explain yourself, and most important, don't get nervous, your interview should go fine. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.