How to answer commonly asked admission interview questions?
Applying to a university for higher education is a daunting task.
Not only is this a big step in one’s education, but the admission process is also unfamiliar and tough.
The admission process is made up of many steps, including submission of academic and test scores, co-curricular achievements, admission essays, etc. One of the most important steps in this process is the interview.
The admissions interview is generally conducted either by a professor, department head or admissions officer or a panel comprising many individuals.
The aim of the admissions interview is two fold: It allows the university to test the candidate on a one-on-one level and determine whether or not the candidate is suitable for the university, while at the same time, the interview allows the student the opportunity to judge their own compatibility with the college and get their doubts clarified.
No matter the age and experience, appearing for an interview, especially such an important one, is always intimidating. Students often get flustered and nervous and end up losing out on life changing opportunities.
Here is a list of ten commonly asked questions in admissions interviews and tips on how they should be answered:
Why do you want to attend this university?
This is one question that is almost definitely asked in college interviews. By asking this question, the interviewer essentially wants to ensure that the student has researched well and is motivated by the right reasons to attend the college.
While answering, students should try to be as specific as possible and avoid giving vague responses. Furthermore, it is important to touch upon the unique highlights of the university (such as faculty, facilities, etc.) rather than external factors like the location, campus, nightlife, etc.
Why do you want to study this discipline/program?
This question is another one that is guaranteed to be asked. While responding, students should try to showcase their interest and passion for the subject in question.
Talking about how and why you got interested in this discipline, how the programme ties in with your future goals, what you aspire to do, etc. are good areas to be covered. One must try and avoid giving superficial reasons like monetary benefits, or luxurious lifestyle.
How would your friends describe you?
This question is aimed at the interviewers getting to know you as a person. This is why it is important to make the answer memorable, specific and interesting. Students should try and cover their passions, their motivations as well as their quirks and differences that make them unique.
Using cliches is not recommended and one can use specific examples and anecdotes to make the answer genuine. At the same time, it is important not to go overboard. Students should avoid boasting and keep the answer short and simple.
What are your hobbies?
This question is also aimed at getting to know the personality of a student and hence the answer should be memorable and personal. Students should mention only hobbies or activities that they genuinely enjoy, since trying to make up answers can backfire.
Try to explain why you are passionate about the hobby you say and include the skills and lessons you have learnt from that hobby that are applicable in university life. Try not to include easy, lazy hobbies like shopping, watching TV, etc.
What are your future goals?
Most students entering university are unsure about their future plans and so, it is important to admit to that in the interview.
Students can include ways in which college would shape their future plans, help them learn more about their interests and the life they want to have. However, one can’t be completely clueless about this question either.
Students can give a brief idea of what kind of life they wish to have and which interests they wish to pursue.
What is your favourite book and why?
This question is a great opportunity to let the interviewers know you more as a person. Ensure that the book you choose is meaningful to you in real life and elaborate upon why that particular book is important to you.
Students can also speak about personal examples in their life that they can relate with the book, or life lessons they have learnt from it.
What achievement are you most proud of?
While answering this question, it is important to pick only one achievement and it is recommended that it be something in the recent past.
The achievement can be academic or non-academic and personal, but it is important to elaborate upon why this achievement is special to you.
Students can speak about the obstacles they had to overcome as well as the skills and lessons they learnt from the experience as a whole.
Who is the person you admire the most?
The answer to this question would tell the interviewer a lot about the student’s character and that is why it is important to choose wisely.
Students should avoid cliched answers and look for a role model that really means something to them.
They should also explain and give reasons as to why this person stands out for them. One should generally avoid naming controversial figures and speak more about positive role models.
What is your greatest strength and weakness?
This is a common question that generally gets answers loaded with cliches. While responding, it is important to be honest and back your points with examples from your life.
Students should stick to one or two most important qualities and not give lengthy answers.
While answering for weaknesses, it might be tempting to sugarcoat one’s drawbacks, but that can harm one’s application.
Instead, students can talk about weaknesses that they have been working on overcoming and speak of the growth that they have experienced too.
How would you contribute to our university?
While it might be tempting to exaggerate one’s achievements for this question, it is important to avoid boasting. Students can give real examples and highlight their important achievements to elaborate on why they deserve a place at the university.
They can also mention specific ways in which they can represent the university at a higher level (such as in sports).
An admission interview is an extremely important part of the admission process and students should be well-prepared and confident while answering questions.
While responding, students must remember to avoid cliches and vague, generic statements and instead be specific, personal and use examples to emphasise their points.
When in doubt, you must remember that being honest, open and unambiguous is the best approach.