This post was written by an external contributor. Have a university interview scheduled? Chloe Smith has some top tips to help you out.
Interviews are daunting at the best of times, but there’s just something about university interviews that make them particularly terrifying. Perhaps it’s down to being so difficult to impress when you’re up against so many other prospective students – trying to stand out from the crowd is no easy feat.
So to help ease those nerves, here are three ways to help you impress at your university interview.
Let your passion and enthusiasm shine through
If you’ve applied to study a subject at university level, then you’re probably going to have a passion for it already. However, your interviewer isn’t necessarily going to know that, so this is the perfect time to show them. I’m not talking about putting together a fifteen slide PowerPoint presentation; all you need to do is answer every question with enthusiasm.
Know a little bit about the subject outside of what is in your school syllabus. For example, if you’re studying English, read and mention a few books in your interview that you haven’t come across at secondary school, college or sixth form (such as Chaucer or Sylvia Plath) just to show that you have a genuine passion outside of education.
Remember, a tutor always appreciates a student who loves their subject. Don’t be afraid of showcasing your knowledge. Talk about what areas interest you, or mention what modules you’re looking forward to studying at that institution.
Expand on your personal statement
Before you go for an interview, make sure you know your personal statement inside out. Prepare to expand where necessary, and clarify any points that the tutor may have.
My own university interview consisted of my tutor quizzing me on parts of my statement that interested them. It really showcased me as a person, and demonstrated the thought and care that I’d put into the application overall.
Your statement will have all the skills and achievements that got you the interview in the first place. If you’re able to use it as a good base for conversation, then it’ll definitely put you ahead of the game.
Engage your interviewer
The more engaged you seem at the interview, the more confident you’ll come across. The interviewer will definitely appreciate the fact that you’ve been paying attention and want to know more about the syllabus, which means you’ll make more of a positive impression overall too.
If you’re feeling too nervous to think of questions on the spot, then it might be a good idea to ask a few generic questions about the university, or the course structure etc. One good piece of advice I was given before my interview was, ‘they’re not just interviewing you, you’re also interviewing them’.
You’ll be investing your time and money in that institution, so think carefully about what you want. Will the course interest you? What’s the assessment process like? Are there any interesting opportunities – like internships or studying abroad – that you can take advantage of? Questions like these may help you see whether that university is the right choice.
Sometimes, the interviewer may want to get to know you a bit more to see if you’re a good fit for their school. If you want to prepare for any dreaded personal questions like this, then these tips are a great help.