Some universities/colleges, especially Oxbridge, Russell Group, top American Uni’s and competitive Sixth-Form colleges tend to interview candidates before admission. We have listed key tips that could help you ace the interview, should you be asked to attend one:
- Preparation is key: Sharpen your interview technique and public speaking skills. Practice with friends/family or enrol on a workshop, e.g the EtonX , Oxbridge or Medical School Prep Courses.
- Research on the online comments about past interviews (e.g. Studentroom, social media or YouTube) and newspaper articles about attending competitive university interviews.
- Research on the content, hints and tips posted on the University/College’s website.
- Re-read your application a few times to thoroughly familiarise with everything you have written as you may be asked to expand on any statements you have written. Prepare to back up any claims, interests, hobbies, strengths and skills you have mentioned in your application.
- A lot of the interview questions will have no right or wrong answer. They just want to test your intellectual skills, confidence, ability to ‘think on your feet’ and your ability to navigate in unfamiliar territories.
- Read a lot of media (newspaper, magazine or blog) articles related to your area of study.
- Plan your travel the night before and familiarise yourself with the route/transport facilities you are going to use on the day.
- Plan the clothing you are going to wear. Smart casual is the most popular for university interviews unless the university suggests otherwise. Avoid anything too bright, offensive or suggestive.
- Do your utmost best to arrive on time please! It reflects on your time management and professionalism.
- Greet the interviewer positively, and if offered give a nice firm handshake.
- Respond in a confident and assertive manner. Speak clearly and audibly – but not too loud or aggressive. Smart use of body language can go a long way to show your confidence, openness and assertiveness. Pay attention and maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s).
- Show your enthusiasm about the Uni and passion for the course you are applying for. Don’t be ‘over-the-top’ or exaggerate things – try being as genuine and authentic.
- Use your experiences from any clubs, societies, sports, Duke of Edinburgh and extra-curricular activities to demonstrate your social and ethical skills and values as well as illustrating any life achievements.
- Respond why you would like to study at this particular university with a set of credible facts that make that institution stand out for you. Think about its reputation, specialism, research or academic excellence, student satisfaction, teaching/learning style, strong recommendation from teachers/friends/family and post-qualification employment track-record. Your answer should show that you have done a thorough research.
- Respond passionately to why you want to study this course, demonstrating genuine interest for the subject, the career destinations it opens, how it aligns with your career aspirations and link this to any latest or trending industry issues in this area of study.
- Prepare solid answers for common questions like What are your strengths, weaknesses, greatest achievements
- When responding, if you need a moment or two to digest the question an prepare your response, feel free to pause and stay silent for a brief moment. Feel free to ask the interviewer to repeat or to give you a moment to prepare your answer. Sometimes admitting that it’s you first time to hear about it can be a nice way to give disclaimer but still attempting to respond. Do not hesitate to request to use a piece of paper or whiteboard to illustrate your answer.
- Use questions like why you should be offered a place by selling yourself and any key strengths, skills, achievements, passion to learn, what contributions you can bring or add value to the college/university and your passion for the area of study.
- Show your interest in the university / college by asking questions. These could range from the course-content, employment prospects, what students like about the course, learning style, assessment methods, any opportunities to give back to the uni/college.
Show your passion and enthusiasm by thanking them for the opportunity.
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