Not every university course requires candidates to go for an interview… but yours does! Woohoo, how very exciting! No? Okay, well let us say that there’s nothing to be worried about, as long as you follow this handy guide of do’s and don’ts.
Rather than starting with how you should act in a university interview, we’ll start with the don’ts which means that there should be only a handful of things we need to remind you of later on.
You only have one chance to make a first impression and if you turn up late, all hot and sweaty, it’s not going to look great. The interviewers will be thinking that if you turn up late to an interview, will you even bother with lectures and seminars?
The interviewers don’t care about the traffic or that your parents were late waking up. They’d rather you be early with the chance to make small talk than late and messing up their schedule. Being early also allows you to go over your preparation notes.
Underdress (Or Overdress)
This is a tough one, because the dress code may not be specified. However, there’s no harm in sending a quick email to enquire. After all, you’d rather feel comfortable in the interview with your potential future lecturer than be worrying about how much of a scruff you look and not be able to concentrate on your answers.
Talk Too Little
Speaking of how you answer questions – don’t give minimal responses. It’s understandable that you’ll be slightly nervous and your interviewer is likely to ask you open questions too to prompt you into discussion. However, if they ask you, for example, “What is your favourite period of history?” don’t just reply with “The French Revolution”. Explain why you find the French Revolution so interesting and how you’d like to develop on your knowledge at university.
Of course, you shouldn’t use vulgar language or stare out of the window when your interviewer is talking. But that goes without saying. By not being rude, we mean that you should shake hands at the start and end of the interview and thank the interviewer for their time.
Lying is, of course, not acceptable. Even bending the truth is a no-go. For example, if the interviewer asks if you take part in any extra-cirricular activities and you reply that you’re captain of the football team, even if you’re not but are still a regular first-team starter, this is still classed as lying. Let the students who face jail time for lying on their CV be an example to you!
Surely the do’s of a university interview are the opposites of the don’ts? Yes, but there’s a few more things you should be aware of.
Research the University Beforehand
You’re most likely to be asked why you want to study at this particular university so you need to have a prepared answer. Perhaps you really enjoyed the campus when you visited for an open day, or it’s close to home. Maybe the university is one of the few to offer a particular course. Whatever persuaded you to apply to that university, make sure you convey your reasons professionally.
By the way, cheaper tuition fees or low entry requirements is not a great answer.
If there’s anything you’re unsure about, just ask! It might be the structure of the course, how much weight coursework carries compared to exams or what extra-curricular activities are available. Whatever it is, it will show enthusiasm and show that you’ve given serious thought to how you will spend your time if you attend this university.
Answer The Questions!
Sometimes nerves can take over and you don’t actually answer the question. To use the example from above, if you were asked what your favourite period of history is, and you replied with a few examples rather than just one, it’s technically not answering the question.
Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask to have a question repeated.
University interviews can be daunting but the most important thing is to be polite and be yourself.