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University Interview Tips

Personal statement? Check. UCAS application? Check. University interview? Next week!

University interviews can be daunting. After all, haven’t you already done enough to prove you really want to attend a university by visiting on an open day and taking the time to list the university as one of your five choices on UCAS?!

Regardless, the fact of the matter is that you’ve got a university interview and obviously you really want to impress and ensure that you secure your place on the course. We know this. You know this. We know you want some tips. You know we’re gonna provide the best university interview tips in the world. Shall we?

Research & Prepare

There are three certainties in life; taxes, death and a university asking you during an interview why you want to study at that particular university on that particular course.

When these questions are asked in your interview (and we would be very surprised if they weren’t) it’s handy if you have a good idea of what you’re going to say. That’s not to say that you should rehearse it so much that you sound like a robot when asked the question, “Why do you want to study medicine?” but you should prepare for that question being asked and have a few mental bullet points that you want to touch upon. It’s also a good idea to practice likely questions with a parent, friend or teacher. “Likely questions?!” That’s right. Oh, you want a handy list of likely questions and suggested response? Here goes…

Q: Why do you want to study subject X at university?

A: Explain what interests you about the subject and your experience of it so far. If you studied it at GCSE or A-level, identify your favourite topics. Or perhaps the course is necessary if you’re going to follow a particular career path, e.g. medicine.

Q: Why did you apply to study at this university?

A: Tell the interviewer about your open day visit and what attracted you to the university. For example, the university may be renowned for its teaching in your desired subject area or may have a fantastic rate of graduate employment. “Because my friends are studying here” isn’t such a great answer.

Q: What career aims do you have?

A: This may be reflected in the course you have chosen. If you’re applying to study law, impress the interviewer by explaining how you wish to become a solicitor and hope to apply for a vacation scheme and become an active member of the university’s law society.

Q: Do you do any extra-curricular activities? 

A: Here’s your chance to really shine. Explain how you play sport or a musical instrument and wish to get involved with the relevant university societies should you be accepted. It shows enthusiasm and a desire to make university more than just a learning experience.

Ask Questions Yourself

Whether it’s clarification on how many exams you sit, or whether you have to do a dissertation in final year, asking questions shows interest. For extra brownie points, ask what recent graduates have gone on to do. This will show that you’re focussed on what the course and university can do for you and are willing to make the most of it.

Don’t Forget ‘The Usual’…

This means, don’t be late, dress appropriately, don’t be rude or even lie about your experiences and activities. For more on this, check out our University Interviews: Do’s and Don’ts article.

The most important tip: be yourself! 

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