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Mastering College Admissions Interviews: Styles, Questions, and Preparation

One of the most feared part of applying for college is the College Admissions Interview…… Especially if this is the first time that your teen has ever interviewed.

College interviews can vary in style and format, but here are three of the most common interview styles, along with typical questions and tips on how to prepare for each.


1. Style: In this style, you will have a face-to-face interview with an admissions officer of alumni interviewer. It is a more traditional format

2. Typical Questions Asked:

  • Tell me about yourself

  • Why are you interested in this college?

  • What do you plan to major in and why?

  • Can you describe a challenging situation you have faced and how you overcame it?

  • What are your extracuricular activities and accomplishments?

3. How to Prepared:

  • Research the college throughly and be ready to explain why its a good fit for you

  • Practice your answers to common questions

  • Prepare anecdotes that demonstrate your skills, experiences, and character

  • Dress professionally and arrive on time


1. Style: In this style, you may be interviewed by a panel of admisssions officers, alumni or current students. It is a bit more intense and may involve multiple interviewers

2. Typical Questions Asked:

  • Why should we admit you over other applicants?

  • How do you see yourself contributing to our campus community?

  • Can you discuss a book or topic that has had significant impact on you?

  • What do you consider your greatest strength and wekness?

  • Describe a time when you had to collaborate with others to achieve a goal

3. How to Prepare:

  • Practice speaking confidently in front of a group

  • Research the interviewers, if possible, and tailor your responses to their interests or backgrounds

  • Be ready to provide specific examples to support your cliams

  • Prepare questions to ask the panel at the end of the interview


  1. Style: This type of interview focuses on your past behavior as an indicator of future performance. Interviewers will ask you to provide specific examples from your school life

  2. Typical Questions Asked:

  • Give an example when you demonstrated leadership

  • Describe a situation where you had to work in a team with differnet

3. How to Prepared:

  • Identify key experiences and acheivements from your past high school activities that showcase your skills and grit.

  • Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your answers

  • Reflect on your experiences and lessons learned.

Regardless of the interview style, my advice to your teen is to remember to be authentic, enthusiastic, and respectful. Listen carefully to the questions and take your time to formulate thoughtful responses. Additionally, practice with a friend or family member to gain confidence and receive feedback.

Finally, research the specific interview process for the college you're applying to, as some may have unique formats or expectations.

At Career and College Counselors, we identify and give teens the knowledge of their strengths, interests, passions, stresses, values, and possible career paths. This knowledge will empower them to stay true to themselves and peer pressure can easily be overcome.

If you want to better prepare your teen, schedule a FREE Consultation or

Schedule your Teen's Values which will be useful in college essays.

Tom and Maria Ann Geffers

Career and College Counselors

Teen Coaches


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