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Word of the Day Wednesday: College Interview

Today's Word of the Day is: College Interview.

Each Wednesday, MEFA features a Word of the Day, where we highlight a word (or sometimes a phrase) related to the college planning process. This month, we're focusing on vocabulary related to college admissions. The college admissions process is a bit like a puzzle, and you'll have to stay organized and motivated to fit all of the pieces together. Read on to learn about an important piece of the puzzle.

Today's Word of the Day is: College Interview.

As a component of the admissions process, some colleges and universities offer an interview for applicants. Though interviews are often optional, it's wise for a student to accept an interview invitation whenever possible. An interview allows an applicant to learn more about a specific college, but also gives the admissions committee a more personal and candid view of the applicant.

College interviews can be informational or evaluative in nature. Informational interviews provide the applicant an opportunity to  learn more about the college or university. Evaluative interviews allow the school to further assess the applicant as a potential member of the entering freshman class.

College interviews can be conducted by a member of the admissions staff, an alumnus/alumna, or even a current student. Interviews provide an opportunity for the applicant to ask questions about the college and its offerings, and for the college representative to learn more about the applicant and his or her academic record and interests.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but students should remember that the interview is only one component of the entire admissions process and not be too nervous. To help you, we've compiled a list of college interview pointers below. If your son or daughter has an interview ahead, pass along this list to help prepare them for the process.

    • Be prepared. Think about what you want the interviewer to learn about you and anything you want to explain from your academic career or time in high school.

    • Practice. Your college interview may be the first interview you've experienced, so practice with a family member beforehand by answering open-ended questions about yourself.

    • Be yourself. In your interview answers, be honest about your strengths and interests. And be self-confident about what you have accomplished so far in life.

    • Talk about your interest in this particular college. In your opinion, what makes this college a better fit for you than other colleges? Don't forget, fit is an important consideration in the college search.

    • If there are specific clubs, organizations, sports or opportunities at the college that interest you, discuss your interest and ask about how you might get involved.

    • A successful interview has the give-and-take of a natural conversation. Avoid one-word responses, but don't monopolize the time either.

    • Tell the interviewer about what you hope to gain from pursuing your education. Discuss your short-term and long-term goals.

    • Don't shy away from talking about what you can contribute to the college. Many other applicants will have similar grades and test scores. What makes you an attractive addition to the classrooms, the residence halls, and the overall campus community? Everyone has something to contribute.

    • Bring up any questions you have about attending the college. If you are accepted, you will have to decide between this college and any others that also accept you. And make sure the answers to your questions can't be found in the college viewbook or website.

    • Always thank the interviewer. And remember to send a follow-up thank you note.

Do you have additional college interview tips? We'd love to hear them. Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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