The Crowe's Nest

6 Tips to Ace Your Interview

An Sasala
October 28, 2015

When it comes to college applications, perhaps no word strikes more fear into the hearts of applicants than “interview.” Although they may seem scary, interviews are an important part of the application process, as they allow you to use your own words to tell us who you are. Interviews also are a great opportunity for you to learn more about Kenyon, through the eyes of an admissions officer, upperclass student or alumnus. To help assuage your fears, dear prospective students, my colleagues and I present to you advice on how to sail through your interview. 

1. Think before you go. What are you looking for in a college? Your interview will be more productive if you already have sorted out elements of your college criteria. If you don’t have a sense yet of what you are seeking in a school, hold off on interviewing until you do.

2. Be thoughtful about scheduling your interview. Your first college interview should not be with your top choice school. Practice your interviewing skills at a different college first. Also, if you know you have trouble functioning in the morning, it might not be a great idea to schedule your interview for 8 a.m. Know what time of day you are at your best, and make your appointment accordingly.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. At Kenyon, interviews are informal ways for us to get to know you. What books do you read? How do you feel about ice cream? What do you want to study? The best interviews are easy, illuminating and fun conversations.

4. Elaborate. During the interview, make sure to answer questions with more than one word. We understand if it takes you a few minutes to warm up and feel comfortable, but please, please, please, whatever you do, avoid monotone and monosyllabic answers.

5. Be curious. Come prepared with any lingering questions you have about Kenyon — but not questions that you could easily find answers to online or in brochures. And get to know your interviewer. Why did we decide to attend/work at Kenyon? What do we love about Gambier?

6. Leave the sweatpants at home. While you don’t have to go all Justin Timberlake “Suit and Tie,” show up in something that will help you feel more confident and professional. And when considering your outfit for the day, it doesn’t hurt to avoid wearing clothing from other colleges.

 suit and tie

Feel prepared? Ready to schedule your interview? Sign up here for an on-campus interview. (Students living in Ohio are strongly encouraged to interview on campus.) If you can’t make it to campus, consider signing up for an off-campus interview. We offer alumni interviews in select cities around the U.S. Seniors may interview through Jan. 21 of their senior year. Juniors may begin interviewing at the end of March. For more information, visit the admissions website.