How to Prepare for a University Interview

Stop quaking in your boots, university interviews aren’t that scary. The most important thing is to be prepared ‘Boy Scout’ style. Ok, maybe ignore the Boy Scout bit; you don’t need to know how to kindle a fire in the interview room. What you really need is our top ten tips on how to prepare for a university interview:

1. Be yourself (well, your professional self). Remember, it’s ok to relax in an interview. The best kinds of interview take the form of formal conversations, so feel free to ask questions during it.

2. Make sure you find out exactly what to expect. If you don’t know what the interview format will be or whether you need to bring anything, it’s perfectly fine to email or phone the university to ask. If you know the name of the interviewer, do a little bit of internet research and see if you share any interests.

3. Get there 15 minutes early. Make sure you know where you are going and have contact details so you can call them if there is a problem.

4. Research your course and the university (and we mean thoroughly). Scour every inch of the information available and make sure you have properly read the course syllabus. Think about what particularly interests you about the course. Is there a particular module that that piques your interest? Why are you choosing to study it and what are you specifically interested in? Ask around and see if you know anyone who is already doing that course, or if not, someone already at the university, so you can get insider info.

5. Make sure you read over your personal statement. It’s likely that they might ask you about it. If you have claimed to have read a book in the personal statement, and actually haven’t, now would be the time to read it.

6. Have a look at our article on university interview questions and think about how you would answer them. Don’t learn your answers off by heart though; you don’t want to sound robotic.

7. Ask a teacher or careers adviser at school to give you a mock interview. For extra practice, get a friend or your parents to hit you with some difficult interview questions.

8. Come prepared with a list of questions about the course or the university. Keep it restricted to academic stuff. It’s best not to ask them: “Where’s the best place to get wasted?” Just a thought.

9. Read around the subject you are applying for. You want to show interest beyond what you have been taught in the classroom. Have a look at relevant newspaper articles, browse the internet or read professional publications. Read around the areas of the subject that really interest you (and are included in the course); that way you can draw your interviewer into a discussion about it. Don’t worry, they aren’t expecting you to be an expert, but they are looking for a passion and interest in the subject.

10. Remember, it’s not just about the university choosing you, you want to scope out the university too. They want to attract the top candidates, so there’s a bit of wooing going on their end too.

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