Many of you will now have submitted your UCAS applications (or very close to submitting it), and over the coming months will be invited to attend an interview with your prospective universities. Some students find this process daunting, but if prepared for properly, the interview can be a great start to your university experience.
As the interview season approaches, here are 10 top tips to consider in advance of your interview:
- Plan your journey
Universities are often big places, so make sure you know exactly where you need to be once you arrive on campus. Leave some time for travel delays and getting lost – you may well be in a city you’ve never been to before! Your interview day can be long, so plan your day before hand to make sure you’re not waiting around.
- Make a good first impression
A smile, a firm handshake (not too firm!) and being polite make a huge difference. Start off your interview well and you’re well on your way to a great interview.
- Be comfortable in what you’re wearing
You will want to show the interviewer that you’re taking the process seriously, so business dress is appropriate. Remember that a big chunk of your day will be spent travelling and waiting around, so spend some time making sure your outfit is comfortable!
- Familiarise yourself with your application
Read over your personal statement and any reading you have done – these will almost certainly form the basis of some questions, alongside the A Level syllabus if you have studied the subject before. Being familiar with these aspects of your application is an easy way to make sure you are calm and confident when answering related questions.
- Preparation is key
Some questions are very likely to come up. For a set of subject specific example questions, please click here. Consider preparing three key points you would like to communicate when answering these questions, and this will help you answer clearly and concisely in an interview situation.
- Be enthusiastic
Bear in mind that the person interviewing you is likely to have dedicated their whole career to researching and teaching your chosen subject. They will want to see a genuine interest and enthusiasm from you to explore their subject further!
- Ask questions
Treat the interview as a conversation, and let it take which ever direction is natural. As well as having some questions ready to ask at the end of the interview, try and interject throughout with questions for the interviewer – it shows inquisitiveness and a willingness to learn!
- Research your interviewer
Try to find out who will be interviewing you – this will allow you to tailor the questions you ask to their specialism. It may be worth looking into some of the research they have done, and comment on this during the process.
- Don’t Panic
If you don’t understand a question – ask the interviewer to repeat it, or re-word the question. They have given up their time to interview you, so they want you to do well. If the interview moves on, it is fine to go back to a previous question at the end and answer it more effectively!
10. Be yourself
Be confident in your own abilities. The admissions team have selected you based on your application, so be natural in the interview – they want to get to know you better!
Finally, bear in mind that the interviewer will be aware this is probably your first interview, and will be keen for you to do well. The interviewer will try to put you at ease, and are likely to be sympathetic to your nerves – so don’t panic, let your personality shine, and…breathe!