10 college interview mistakes

10 College Interview Mistakes Students Should Be Aware Of

10 Common College Interview Mistakes

A college interview can definitely help you make a good impression and avoiding these common college interview mistakes can help you ace your interview. The college interview is a great place to put a face and personality to your application. 

An interview is beneficial to both parties involved. Students can use the interview to gather valuable information about prospective schools, ask questions and show their personalities. Universities use the interview process to find out more about a student, especially the kind of information that isn’t easily found in transcripts and applications.

With these points in mind, let’s look at the 10 common college interview mistakes to keep in mind

1. Showing up late

Showing up late for a college interview
  • Be it any interview, showing up late is not good etiquette.
  • One, because it disrespects the interviewer because he/she is taking their time out to do this interview.
  • Second, it has a high probability of affecting your chances because showing up late creates a bad first impression.
  • Instead, plan your time out, arrive a good 20 minutes earlier, settle down, get adjusted to the conditions, and take the interview with a calm and relaxed mindset. 
  • Or if it’s a virtual interview, put away your distractions, set the ambience as per your comfort and give yourself a good pep talk before the interview starts.

2. Underdressing

Underdressing for a college interview

Here’s a truth to start this point: there’s no universal/default “interview outfit”. But dressing well and appropriately can help you stay on top of these three reasons:

  • Sloppy dressers have a high chance of immediate rejection.
  • A bad visual first impression deeply influences a person’s decision-making and in the case of underdressing, things won’t be in your favour.
    Read this Forbes article to know how to dress for interview success.
  • Inappropriate dressing projects a person with low attention to detail and less self-worth. And as per this article, how we dress influences how we perform.

3. Being Rude to the Interviewer

Being rude to the interviewer

What can be considered rude behaviour in an interview? Here are a few examples:

  • Chewing gum while attending the interview
  • Bringing your mobile to the interview
  • Using swear words

Instead, treat the interviewer the way you would like to be treated; with respect, politeness and professionalism.

4. Lying Or Being Disingenuous

Lying to the interviewer

These are two important things to keep in mind:

  • Never lie
    A lie today might get you the job but it will surely come back to haunt you in the future.

  • Never be someone else
    This is a golden rule applicable to any interview. Never try being someone you are not. The interviewer can see right through it.
Instead, be truthful and be authentic.

5. Not researching the college

Not enough research about the school or college
  • Here’s a popular college interview question: “Why do you want to attend this college/school?”
  • If you have done your research right, you would be able to talk about the school and answer this question quite easily. The problem arises when you haven’t put in the time to research the school.
  • Research the school not just from its website but also from its social media platforms to get an even better understanding of what’s happening within the system. This definitely gives you a certain edge over other applicants.

6. Not researching the Interviewer

Not just the school but researching the interviewer too is essential. It’s one way to really make an impact during your interview.

What to keep in mind while researching your interviewer?

  • Their interview style
    You can get this information if they or someone else has written about the same on the internet.
  • LinkedIn
    LinkedIn would be a good place to start your research. Look at their academic background as well as their experience so far. This can help you come up with potential questions to ask.
  • Mutual connections/friends
    Friends in common can be a good way to start the conversation and potentially make the interviewer remember you better.

7. Preparing a Canned Speech

Avoid delivering a canned speech during a college interview
  • Do not memorize a speech before coming to the interview.
  • Prepare a pitch that defines who you are and what you want to do, understand the flow and weave a story out of it. This way, you wouldn’t have to memorize in the first place, because when asked about it, you can think of the story, the elements, the flow and be your genuine self.

8. Not Practicing enough

  • You should never overlook practice, regardless of how confident you are in your abilities.
  • Great thought leaders, speakers are who they are today because of the amount of hard work they put in behind the scenes (and experience plays a part too).
  • Make sure you practice with someone and in front of a mirror to nail down the answers, be convincing enough in your responses.
  • Maintain a good posture with a genuine smile on your face. Body language is as important as your verbal communication.
  • This will give you confidence and make you sound more natural.

9. Too many filler words

Avoid using Filler words in a college interview
  • This could be seen as an extension of the previous point but this deserves a special mention because this is quite common among students. Filler words come naturally to many of us and a few examples could be, “like”, “basically”, “you know” etc.
  • Check out this article to reduce the usage of filler words.
  • Here’s a bonus tip:
    While practising, practice consciously. What this means is you are aware of every word you speak and every action you take. This self-awareness can help you not just in interviews but also in many other important aspects of your life.

10. Failing to send thank you

Not sending a thank you note
  • Don’t forget to send an email thanking the interviewer for their time.
  • Adding to the thank you note, you can quote something the interviewer said that was memorable and instructive which shows that you paid attention to what they were speaking.
  • An example of the same:
    “I really loved how you have emphasized the university’s top-notch facilities and it has made me want to study at the place even more. Thank you for that!”
  • All these tiny details do matter and could end up giving you that certain edge over others.

Final words about the college interview:

Prepare yourself for the frequently asked interview questions before attending the interview. Do your research well and have a clear goal in place. During the interview, take your time and find ways to relax and calm your butterflies. Keep these college interview mistakes in mind, follow these 9 tips to nail your next college interview.

How Can GradRight Help?

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To tackle this problem, GradRight is has launched another platform called SelectRight, an AI-based data-driven platform that enables you to select, shortlist and apply to the right universities that are best suited for you.

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