College interviews can be very nerve-wracking. It might seem like the college is interviewing you when you sit down for that appointment. But in truth, you are also interviewing them.
The answers to the questions they ask you (Can You Answer These 10 College Interview Questions?) are important. But the questions you ask them can be just as important and can also help you make your final college decision. In the end, it’s not just them choosing to admit you, it’s you choosing to accept their offer of admission.
Do Your Research Before the College Interview
First thing's first—do your research. Write down some questions before the interview. Steve Schwartz, an independent college counselor, says there are three types of questions you can ask: Research-based, personal questions, and questions that show you were listening to the interview. You want to use this opportunity to learn more about the college and show your interest. Most importantly, ask questions that cannot be found on the college website. It’s a waste of the interviewer’s time and yours.
Here are 5 questions you should ask, even if they don’t ask you, “Do you have any questions?”
1. I noticed that (a program you’re interested in) has these (benefits, criteria, rewards, etc.) for students. Can you tell me more about it?
This can be anything from a scholarship, an athletic program, an honors program, internships, or study abroad. Asking this question shows that you have done your research about this program the college is offering and you want to know more. It communicates interest—a key ingredient in the offer of admission decision.
For you, the answer to this question helps you learn more about programs that interest you. It will also show you how the college values student interest and has designed programs to meet those student needs.
2. What does the college do to assist students with career planning, internships, and future job placement?
This question shows the college that you are concerned about your future. The purpose of any college is to not only provide students with a valuable education, but to prepare them for a career after graduation. Asking this question shows you are aware of these ultimate goals.
For you, the answer to this question will determine whether your education is worth the investment. The college should have programs in place to assist you with career development and job placement. These programs are critical during college and after graduation.
3. What preparations has the college made to deal with emergencies, such as school shootings, violent crimes, and extreme weather conditions?
This question communicates your concern for safety—something many students don’t even consider. By asking this question, you show the interviewer that you have thought about campus safety and are thinking as an independent adult.
For you, this question will not only make you feel more secure on campus, but your parents will rest easy knowing that preparations and plans are in place to deal with emergencies.
4. Why should I choose your college?
This gives the interviewer an opportunity to tell you what’s different about their college and what they have to offer that’s different from other colleges. Remember that the college you choose to attend will ultimately be your final decision and this information will help you make an informed decision.
5. What advice would you give me as an incoming freshman?
Not only will this give the interviewer an opportunity to dispense advice (and who doesn’t like to do that?), but the advice you receive can be helpful when you enter college. The answer will be an indicator of the kind of student who attends the college, but it will also give you an idea of what the college can offer incoming freshman. Listen carefully and attentively—this advice could change your whole college experience.
A key thing to remember is that the college decision is your decision. Colleges seem to have the power during the interview process, but the interview is also your opportunity to clarify your choices and learn more about the college. Approaching this interview with this in mind will help you relax and be more confident. Asking questions shows the colleges that you are strong, independent and will be making an informed decision.