Your GED® diploma opens the door to a college education. If you decide to go that path (which we highly recommend), you’ll sometimes be confronted with the college admission interview as part of the admission process.
The college interview can be a pretty nerve-racking process. It gives the college you apply to one more opportunity to determine if you should be admitted to their programs or not.
A college interview not only will give the college more information about you, your interests, your goals, and how you can contribute to the school, but it additionally offers schools the opportunity to provide more information about their programs and to answer any questions you may have.
There are not that many colleges that require admission interviews, and a number of colleges offer optional interviews or recommend you should have an interview, for example, Brown, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.
Typically, small and highly selective colleges and most Music colleges, and Arts colleges, colleges of Medicine, just to mention a few, require admission interviews for evaluative and informational purposes.
But there are also mid-size and larger universities and colleges that require you to take an interview such as Western Governors University, United States Naval Academy, Unites States Airforce Academy, Colorado Technical University, and College of the Ozarks.
If you want to apply to an Ivy League school, be aware that the expectations of these schools are rigorous and so are their admission interviews. Most of these schools require you to submit sufficient teacher recommendations and SAT scores or GED College-Ready + Credit scores.
In case your GPA isn’t high enough (or your GED scores are not in the 175-200 category) and your extracurricular background and test scores aren’t good enough, they probably won’t bother to let you enter their intensive processes in the first place.
The college interview is often the final step in the application process. Interviews are taken seriously so be sure to arrive at your meetings prepared! Here’s some advice:
Top 9 college interview tips:
- Do your research. Consult the school’s website and view other review sites, so you appear informed and knowledgeable.
- Practice! Interviews go much smoother when you have practiced with potential questions and have planned a variety of answers. Practice with your parents, counselor, or even your friends.
- Dress professionally. You do not need to wear a suit and tie but be sure to dress conservatively and in a professional business style.
- Bring a copy of your transcript and activity resume. It will show your interviewer you have come prepared. But be sure to know your personal history. Interviewers may ask about specific courses or grades and expect you to be able to explain your experiences and activities in each class and any part-time jobs you have had and how the compensation related to a regular income.
- You should have five intelligent questions prepared. It is okay to bring a sheet of paper or a notebook with your questions written out. Create questions that are unique to the school and do not have obvious answers on the website. Try to ask open-ended questions that will open up the conversation for further dialogue. Read here how to convert your GED scores to GPA.
- Have reasons behind your five questions. An experienced college admissions interviewer recently told us that after a student asks him questions, he responds by asking why that question matters to the student.
- Engage the interviewer. Interviewers often want to talk about themselves and their experiences with the college. Remember to stay involved in an active conversation and let your interviewer talk as well.
- Aim for a personal connection. Try to find something in common with your interviewer and leave them with a lasting impression. This one is hard to prepare for as you may not know anything about your interviewer beforehand. Look for opportunities to make a connection outside of college topics during the interview.
- Follow-up and say thank you. Get your interviewer’s card or contact information and send a handwritten note or email within one week of the interview. In your “thank you” note be sure to remind the interviewer of the day, time and location of your interview to help jog their memory.
Sample college interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would your friends and teachers describe you?
- Why are you interested in our college?
- Tell me about your high school experience. What made you drop out and get your GED? What has been the best part and what would you change? Is there anything you would do differently?
- Is there anything you’d like to change about your past?
- Tell me about your favorite teacher.
- What are your academic interests? Are you interested in a particular major?
- What have been your strongest and weakest subjects in high school?
- What are your greatest personal strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you do with your free time? Tell me about your favorite sports, hobbies, interests.
- What are some of your favorite books and authors? Why?
- What’s your favorite book that was not required reading for a class?
- What have you done during your summers?
- What do you hope to get out of college?
- What academic and extracurricular activities would you like to pursue in college?
- What are your goals?
- How would you contribute to our university?
- What current social/political issues are you interested in or concerned about right now?
- Tell me about a challenge you have faced and how you dealt with it.
- What other colleges are you looking at and why?
- Is there anything else you would like me to know about you?
- Do you have any questions for me?
In general, the college interview won’t make or break students. However, if an interview is arranged, it should be taken seriously. This is the chance to demonstrate your unique personality and all the good character traits you will bring to college and campus life. The interview is your best shot at building your personal relationship with the school’s admissions gatekeepers.
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