Acing a College Interview: 27 Interview Questions

How do you ace a college interview?

That’s what my son was wondering this weekend during his visit to Beloit College. About 130 high school seniors were on campus to compete for one of the school’s Presidential Scholarships, which are worth up to $68,000.

Have fun and relax. That’s what everyone told the hopeful teenagers, who arrived from places as far away as New Hampshire, South Carolina, Colorado and California. And just be yourself. We heard that a lot from the college’s president, the college admission staff and Beloit students.

Being yourself is excellent advice, but I think it makes sense to spend a little time preparing for the kind of questions that might come up during a college interview.

So for high school students who will be competing for a college scholarship or an admission spot,  I want to share the following 27  interview questions that I found on the web site of Emma Willard School, a private girls’ school in New York:

  1. Why are you considering this college?
  2. What makes you think that this college would be a good match?
  3. Where else are you applying and why?
  4. What do you hope to major in?
  5. What do you expect to be doing ten years from now?
  6. How do you define “success?”
  7. What have you liked or disliked about your school? What would you change?
  8. How would you describe yourself to someone who did not know you?
  9. What newspapers and magazines do you read?
  10. What books not required for school have you read recently?
  11. What television shows do you watch?
  12. Tell us about your family.
  13. How do you spend a typical afternoon after school? Evening? Weekend?
  14. What extracurricular activities have you found most satisfying?
  15. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What has been your proudest achievement so far?
  16. If you could talk with any one living (or deceased) person, whom would it be and why?
  17. What events have been crucial in your life?
  18. What is the most important thing you’ve learned in high school?
  19. What mark do you feel you’ve left on your school?
  20. What do you want to get out of your college experience?
  21. What about you is unique? What could you contribute to our college community?
  22. Talk about a significant challenge you have encountered.
  23. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your transcript?
  24. What is your greatest passion?
  25. How would your friends describe you?
  26. If you had high school to do over again, what might you have done differently?
  27. What are your goals for your senior year?

So how did my son Ben do? Time will tell, but he assured me that he followed the school’s advice by being himself.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch. Follow her on Twitter.



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