Mastering the College Admissions Interview

As undergraduate admissions become more competitive, students' performance on their admissions interviews can be a game-changer.

Need some interview help? Speak with one of our interview coaches to prepare for your admissions interview.

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College interview coaching is a valuable way to practice interviewing skills.

What is the purpose of the interview?

As undergraduate admissions become more competitive, admissions officers have been forced to employ a variety of ways to choose between highly competitive applicants. The interview is seen as an equalizing force in the admissions process as it provides an honest snapshot of a student’s overall passion and skills.

As grade inflation and recent advancements in artificial intelligence (such as ChatGPT) have made the admissions process more dubious, more emphasis has been placed on interviews as compared to previous years.

Additionally, interviews act as a subtle way for admissions officers to confirm that the student they are speaking to communicates at a level consistent with their application profile and essays. Suffice it to say, it would be a major red flag if a student submits a well-written essay but struggles to verbally describe the subject of their essays.

Do all applicants receive an invitation to interview?

Given the time-costly nature of scheduling and conducting interviews, not all students are guaranteed an interview. In general, admissions officers only request interviews from potential candidates who demonstrate strong potential to be a good fit for the university.

However, some students may not receive an interview invitation despite having a good chance of being admitted. Oftentimes, colleges attempt to match students to interviewers who live in a similar time zone to the student. If the university has no interviewer present in the applicant’s time zone, the applicant may not receive an invitation due to the difficulty of having such an interview take place.

If you do not receive an invitation to interview, do not worry as there are many factors that go into the undergraduate admissions process. If you would like to share your situation with one of our seasoned admissions consultants for some advice, you may do so here.

When can applicants expect an invitation?

Typically, EA and ED applicants who submit applications in late October and early November can expect interview invitations to roll out around late November or early December. RD applicants who submit applications in late December and early January can expect interview invitations around mid to late January, February, and March in some rare instances.

Who will be interviewing me?

Know your audience. It’s rule number 1 for the personal statement, and the same advice applies to the interview. Undergraduate admissions are usually conducted by:

What questions do interviewer’s ask?

You can almost certainly expect to see the following questions asked during your interview.

The following questions have all been reported as being asked to varying degrees:

What about pre-recorded video interviews?

Some universities offer applicants the opportunity to submit pre-recorded video interviews. Typically, these videos are 30-90 seconds in length and can be recorded and edited by the student in whatever fashion they desire.

Tips to Master the Interview

Masterprep Academy’s Interview Coaches are ready to help you.

Our tried-and-true interview coaches have helped past students achieve admission to all Top 20 universities. Book a session with one of our professional college counselors to evaluate your interview responses and ensure you are ready to succeed when your interview comes along.

The interview process can be stressful, but it certainly does not have to be.

Nicholas Chung, College CounselorJanuary 16, 2024