Acing the university interview

“what am I going to do?’, “what if they don’t like me?”, “what if I don’t now the answer to any question?” – These kinds of question take residence in your mind as soon as you get the interview call. The thought of appearing before a group of strangers who are going to take measure of whether or not you are worthy of attending respective institute is absolutely terrifying. I don’t know a single student who doesn’t get worried at the thought of an interview. To be scared is natural, but there are few steps that you can follow that will help lessen your worry. After all, fear comes before victory.

The type of questions you can expect:

University interviews have a kind of general question pattern that is quite common. They don’t ask you very tough and hard-to know questions. So rather than letting worry eat your mind, start preparing answers to some common questions. By preparing I don’t mean memorizing. You just need to have bullet points in your mind so that you can frame a proper answer later. Take a look at some of the basic and most asked question

  • Application form statement:

    While filling your application form, always be truthful about yourself. Sometimes a student think “Oh but this makes me look impressive and anyways they’ll never know whether it is true or not.” BIG MISTAKE. They might decide to question you based on that and than you’ll have to either come up with a fake story or confess the truth. Either of the scenarios will get you out of the university before you have even entered it.

  • Tell me about yourself:

    I’m sure that you are pretty familiar with this question. Every stranger who wants to get to know you starts with this question. But unlike the answer that you might give to a Facebook friend, you have to be more serious and mature here. If you’re asked about what you do in your spare time, you cannot say stuffs like “My hobbies include singing, dancing, surfing internet” and be done with it.

    Question about the strength/weakness in your character, your genera/study interests etc are very common and you should be prepared for it. Don’t brag and don’t lie. Answer smartly and accurately.

  • Choice of university/course:

    It is important to know why you want to pursue a course ( are you passionate about it? Is it because of its popularity? Or is it because of peer pressure?). Why in a particular university (what made you settle for this university? How much do you know about it?). It is of vital importance not only to you, but these questions make it to the list of interview questions.

    Do your homework and make sure you’ve done your research. Be sure about your choice and let that reflect in your words. A personal and detailed answer goes a long way in making an impression. You can attend open session that several universities have in order to have a deeper understanding. Don’t try to be over-smart and answer flippantly. Weigh yours words before you speak.

  • Subjective questioning:

    Sometimes the interviewers ask question that is related to your subject. Say you are an applicant to a course in English department. The interviewer may ask you about a certain poem/prose or about your favorite author or book. It is better to expect the question and have the answer prepared beforehand.

    You need not agree with everything that the interviewer has said but don’t argue un-necessarily. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have your point of view. On the contrary, having an opinion is good. Just don’t come across as argumentative. Answer academically and respect their opinion.

  • Current-affairs based question:

    Always be up to date with what is happening across globe. Or at least keep up with the current hot topics. The interviewer may raise question related to that. They might deliberately provoke you to see your reaction. Don’t lose your temper and come across as an irrational person. Just be calm and answer according to what you think.

  • Questions that test you:

    Interviewers wants to take a measure of you as an individual. So questions like “what are your aspirations?” or “where do you see yourself ten years from now?” or “How well do you work in a team?” are very common. You need to know yourself thoroughly so you can answer them.

Interviewers wants to take a measure of you as an individual. So questions like “what are your aspirations?” or “where do you see yourself ten years from now?” or “How well do you work in a team?” are very common. You need to know yourself thoroughly so you can answer them.

Apart from questions, there are few things that you have to keep in mind, before, during and after the interview.

Prior to the interview:

  • Remember the college prospectus that was given to you at the time of application? Go through it so that you can have a general idea about the university.

  • Take a look at your application form so that you remember what you’ve filled. Interviewer may ask you question about what you have written.

  • Talk to seniors or the students who’ve already appeared for the interview.

  • Go through a quality newspaper and magazine. Don’t just read the sports or movie section. Skim through the current affairs so that you can talk about the latest development.

  • It’s a good idea to have a mock interview.

  • Take a note of the venue beforehand and calculate the amount of time it will take to travel from your place. Factor in traffic rush and arrive on time. If you’re unsure about the distance-time thing, try to reach early.

  • Have a good night’s sleep a day before. You don’t want to appear distracted or hyper during the interview.

  • If you are unsure about anything or if for some unforeseen reason you won’t be available on the scheduled date, contact the university and reschedule it.

  • Dress properly for the interview. Nothing too flashy or shabby. It should be smart and comfortable, one that makes you come across as a confident person.

  • Before entering the interview room, switch off your mobile phones. Yes, I know that mobile phones are your life, but unfortunately they won’t help you qualify the interview.

Interview time!

  • Remember all those “keep calm” posts that keep on popping up everywhere? Well here’s one for this situation- keep calm and answer the questions.

  • Be confident. Your body language might betray your anxiety, so try and relax. Make eye contact while answering, smile politely, address the person who has asked you the question but look at others too.

  • Don’t answer questions in a hurry. You have ample time so think carefully and form an answer in your mind before you respond. At the same time, don’t take too long either.

  • If you don’t get what the interviewer is asking, tell him. You don’t want to misunderstand a question and answer incorrectly. On the other hand, if you ask him, he’ll rephrase it for you.

  • Avoid using slangs. Words like “gonna”, “wanna” might sound cool but they are not correct English.
  • Be what you are. Don’t try to bluff or try and impersonate someone. Let the interviewers see the real you and be as truthful as you can. After all they value individualism.

Interview done. Now what?

Once you are out of the interview-room, there’s nothing more that you can do to get admission into that college. If the interview didn’t go too well, don’t be disheartened. There will be more in the future. But make sure not to repeat your mistakes. Prepare for your next interview without worrying about the previous one.

If you keep all this in mind, interviews will be like a cakewalk. So relax and don’t worry too much. Have faith in yourself and you will be able to breeze easily through any interview.

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