After submitting your essay and anxiously checking for emails, the moment has finally come. All of those days spent daydreaming about how any potential interview might go suddenly became a rather rapid reality. Your inbox is filled with a notification saying that a university would like to interview you. After reading your essay they would like to get to know you better and are inviting you to interview with them within the next month. Somehow in all your initial excitement you manage to accept the invitation and make an appointment. Yet now you’re wondering what to do and how to actually prepare now that it’s not just day dreams.
Go through your wardrobe and see what kind of outfits you have. Regardless of what an interviewer says, it’s always best to go a little more formal than expected. A business casual outfit is a good choice when it doubt. This means definitely no t-shirts or jeans. If you’re not sure about what is appropriate for business casual or business professional wear, consult YouTube videos. A sample outfit is black shoes, khaki pants, and a blouse or collared shirt. A suit jacket is optional in this case. For a business professional outfit, a suit jacket is generally suggested and formal pants that match this jacket are recommended as well. For those who wear dresses, depending on the style of dress it can be business casual or business professional. Again, watching videos of people who dressed for interviews can be very helpful to differentiate.
Know your essay inside and out. How many commas did you include? Why did you use an exclamation mark rather than a period? Just kidding, the punctuation marks aren’t likely to matter to any interviewer, but the content is. Knowing why you included any anecdote in your essay is important. What led you to chose that specific story above all others? It is also important in general because you are less likely to be caught off guard if they ask you a question about any part of your essay. Make sure you can recall specific details if need be so that it doesn’t seem like you made it up in five minutes (even if you did).
Have some fast facts about yourself that are important to you. A very common question is “tell me about yourself.” Many times I’ve struggled personally to answer this question because I don’t often bother to think about myself from the perspective of somebody who knows nothing about me. A good way to figure out some of your key traits are to ask your friends, teachers, or family to describe you in a few sentences. They are the most likely to be honest and will give you an outside perspective. A few great categories to investigate yourself in are music, favorite things (movies, food, colors, etc), clothing style, books. Not only what you like, but why you like it because that is what makes you who you truly are.
Make sure you take time to relax outside of preparing for your interview. Often times we will over think things that aren’t as complicated as they seem. Someone once told me “If they asked to interview you you’re already qualified for the opportunity.” Even though it may not seem that way, often times you are more qualified than you give yourself credit for. Overthinking and stress can lead to health issues which may cause a conflict with the interview. While not always avoidable, it would be bad to get a cold from stress before you interview and end up having to blow your nose every few minutes. It is better to relax, and walk in with confidence, even if you’re faking it, because sometimes faking it leads to the real thing.
A large part of this interview process is you determining your value in your own eyes. Regardless of what others, including the interviewer, may say, you are worthy of love and can do good things. No, you may not be accepted to the college of your dreams, but you can at least learn things about yourself you forgot about. From experience, it is extremely disappointing to not get into your dream school, however regardless of the outcome you will learn from your experience and have more preparation for any interviews to come.