If an admissions interview becomes part of your college application process, it’s OK to feel a little nervous—but you should be excited, too! Schools that invite students for an in-person, video chat or phone interview are looking to learn a little more about you as a person, AKA, the stuff they can’t see on a piece of paper.
And while you can prepare by rehearsing answers and reading up on the school, you should know that there are even more things you can do to enhance your interview outside of the conversation you’ll have. Here are three tips to help you ace your admissions interview and make sure you’ll shine just as much as your test scores and extracurriculars.
1. Be nice—from the moment you walk in the door
It seems obvious to be on the ball during your interview, but take it a step further and start smiling the moment you arrive on campus. Get there early and give yourself some time to hold the door open for a student or faculty member, or maybe spend a few minutes talking to the desk receptionist when you check in. You never know who might report back to your interviewer—a first impression really does form immediately.
2. Stay mindful of your body language
While having excellent answers can make your interview feel successful, a good conversation can be overshadowed by poor body language, which sends mixed messages to the person on the other side of the table. Be aware of how you’re sitting, where your hands are placed (for example, keep them open and don’t cross your arms) and avoid nervous habits like tapping a pencil or touching your hair.
Bonus tip: Practice your body language in the waiting room: sit up straight, keep your chest open and chin up. Do your last look-down at your phone before you sit, and instead grab the student newspaper or sit quietly. Again, you never know who’s watching or when your interviewer will come in to greet you.
3. Have a stack of thank you cards ready
Before the interview, you should already plan to thank the admissions team for inviting you in and considering your application. By adding one more personal touchpoint, handwritten thank you cards (versus an email) are a tangible way to stand out amongst fellow applicants. So, plan ahead and have your envelopes stamped and addressed before you get there. And when you get home, reflect on the interview and write a short note about something you learned or recall a part of the conversation you enjoyed the most.
Most importantly, be yourself. We know, we know—it's what everyone says, for pretty much everything. But remember this is a two-way street: colleges want to be sure you're the right fit for them, but you want to make sure they're the right fit for you. By being yourself, you'll end up exactly where you belong.
Learn more about how Siena College handles the application and interview process, or reach out to an admissions counselor to ask any questions you may have.