美国大学申请信息 - The College Interview

After students submit their applications, they can breath a sigh of relief from the heavy workload ­ until they begin receiving interview invitations. It is completely natural to feel nervous before an interview, but there are many ways students can prepare beforehand in order to give off the best impression and connect with the interviewer.

Interviewers are usually alumni of the universities they represent who volunteer their time to conduct interviews with prospective students. Colleges assign interviewers a few applicants from their area, and the interviewers usually contact the students to schedule a convenient time and place. Depending on who the interviewer is, college interviews tend to be very casual compared to job interviews. Because each interviewer scores applicants differently, admissions officers cannot rely too much on interview reports. However, an outstanding interview can still tip a competitive applicant over the edge into the admit pool.

There are a few questions and topics that applicants should expect to discuss. First, students should be able to give good reasons on why the college interests them, whether it be a certain inspiring professor or research program or the student community. Each interviewer also wants to hear that their school is the student’s number one choice. Second, students need to know their resume and their most important extracurricular activities. They should be ready to discuss their interests in depth and display passion for their activities. Interviewers may also ask applicants what they want to major in, so students should have some ideas about why they chose to pursue their majors. Third, applicants should highlight all the wonderful qualities they can add to the college environment. Interviewers look not only for smart, hardworking, and active students ­ but also fun, kind, and loving friends to add to the community. They have fond memories of their time in college, and they would rather help an applicant who they could have been great friends with.

Most interviewers will ask only those big questions; the rest of the interview usually flows like a normal, casual conversation rather than a Q&A session. However, there are always those exceptions that do ask a list of questions like: What is your favorite book? What classes did you enjoy the most in school? Looking back, what would you do differently in high school? I scheduled about ten interviews and met only one interviewer that used a list of smaller questions like these (UPenn). All of the other interviews ended up being casual conversations with only the most important two or three questions formally asked.

As for interview attire, most interviewers will tell you to dress comfortably or casually. In these cases, a casual dress/skirt, sweater, or even jeans work well. For most of my casual interviews, I wore jeans, a nice shirt, and a leather jacket. If the interviewer does not mention clothing, I would suggest wearing business­casual outfits to be safe. For these interviews, I wore a suit­like dress, pantyhose, and formal flats. Additionally, students should keep in mind to have a firm handshake, maintain eye contact while talking, and use engaging body language.

My Yale interviewer scheduled our interview at Starbucks. I wore a business­casual black/white dress with a leather jacket and formal black flats. Just like any normal applicant, I was very nervous since Yale was my first college interview. The only actual interview questions my interviewer asked were: Why Yale? What do you do outside of school? Do you have any questions for me? Other than that, we spend seventy minutes in a casual conversation that flowed naturally. He told me a lot about his experiences at Yale, and I asked him various questions about Yale’s science department and student life. Afterwards, I mailed him a handwritten thank you note.

Students should definitely have many questions for the interviewer during the interview! I may have spent thirty minutes per interview just asking the interviewers about the opportunities and their experiences as students. Having good questions is VERY important as it demonstrates interest. Also, interviewers love to talk about themselves and their school. After the interview, students should send a thank you letter or email to their interviewer to show respect and appreciation.

Lastly, students who do not receive interview requests from a college should not worry. Tons of people fail to get interview invitations because interviewers are often limited and some areas do not have any available interviewers. One of my friends who was accepted to his top choice college actually did not get an interview from that college, while others who were rejected did. Interview invitations are NOT based on how good an application is. Getting an interview is completely random for most colleges (this is not the case for scholarships or special programs though).

To wrap it up, these are the three BIG questions that all students should feel completely comfortable answering: Why do you want to come to our college? What activities are you involved in? What questions do you have for me? Although it is okay to be nervous, students shouldn’t worry too much. Interviewers are friends; they remember how stressful applications were when they applied, and they want to help the students in their areas!





Everyone you will read about was accepted to Yale. The authors contribute their common application essay, supplemental essay, why Yale and short questions and answers, along with activities and awards/honors. When you read each student’s chapter, you are not reading an application package, you are reading a personal story. From each personal story, you could see how each student puts her/his pieces together to show who s/he is. We hope you will be able to draw inspiration from each story. More importantly, we hope it will help you put your pieces together and tell your personal story. Best of luck, and hope to see you soon at Yale.

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