Let’s talk college interviews. Maybe you’re not nervous at all. Maybe your hands are shaking just thinking about them. Either way, these five tips will help you feel like you did your absolute best.

But first…

Consider this quote that three-time TEDx speaker Jeremy Gregg once told us: "One very important realization is this: everyone wants you to succeed.
 No one wants a presenter to fail. No one wants an interviewee to be a dud. Don't fear the person who is interviewing you.”

So. True. 

Siena’s admissions team completely agrees. We rarely refer to them as "interviews." We prefer “casual conversations,” and you can even schedule one yourself. We want to get to know you, and we understand that you’re here to get to know us. You’re questioning us too! Sounds a lot less intimidating that way, huh? 

So with that said, here are those five tips. 

1. Prepare questions about the college. 

If you’re sincerely interested in a school, you should definitely have questions—big or small. But here’s the thing, it’s very easy to forget what you wanted to ask, so jot your questions down on paper and bring it with you. (You'll never find an admissions counselor who doesn't love talking about their college, we can promise you that!)

2. Gush about your favorite things. 

Do you love the school's time-honored campus traditions? Love the fact that so-and-so teaches there? So glad that intramurals are just as popular as the D1 teams? Say so! Admissions counselors want to see what you love about their school, and how excited you get talking about it.

3. Leave your phone alone. 

A lot of people don't believe us when we say we've been in interviews where the student casually snuck in a phone check mid-conversation. Seriously though, it happens. And it's a big admissions counselor pet peeve. If you're expecting an urgent call, let your interviewer know beforehand. Otherwise, keep it on silent and tucked away.

4. Be nice to everyone. 

If you're at the admissions office, that means the receptionist, other students, the staff walking in and out. If you're at a restaurant, that means the server, the hostess, everyone you come across. You never know who will be asked to vouch for your interview etiquette, or which interactions your interviewer will happen to see. Kindness always goes a long way! (And so does a good handshake.)

5. Follow up with your interviewer. 

You'll hear this a lot when you start the job search in a few years: a thank you card never goes out of style. Send a handwritten note of appreciation to your interviewer, referencing something you chatted about. We also don’t mind an email, letting us know a note of thanks is en route. Then sit back, and know you did the best you could do.