Some universities and courses require an interview, you’ll need to check with the institutions and faculties individually to find out if it will apply to you – but don’t be put off if it does, and embrace the opportunity!.
What are they looking for?
Motivation. Nothing conveys passion as much as independent research and reading done in your own time, as well as an ability to enthusiastically discuss the subject.
Potential. Interviewers know that everyone has had different opportunities during their education, and they’re going to try to look past your current level of ability into the future.
Teachability. Are you going to benefit from university life? Will you turn up to lectures and tutorials and, more importantly, will you learn anything while you’re there?
Personality. Let your natural charm shine through, and don’t let the formality of the occasion intimidate you into clamming up.
Knowledge. This is not the most important attribute, but you will need to show enough knowledge to convince them you are interested in the subject.
Attire. Unless they specify differently, be comfortable but formal. ‘Business-casual’ is a good guide.
Plan. Plan your journey in advance so you know exactly where to go and how to get there.
Read. You should be fluent in your personal statement and the course syllabus!
Punctuality. Make sure you are on time, arriving 5 to 10 minutes early is preferable.
Small talk. Don’t be afraid of the old clichés about the weather or traffic. Just allow the conversation to flow… just don’t give a one word answer to simple questions.
Fiddling. Don’t play with your hair, nails, sleeves, jewellery. Use your hands to emphasise points.
Sit confidently. Shoulders back, legs together, chin up, feet pointing straight forward, hands in lap.
Smile. Sounds easy, but when we are nervous we lose our ability to control even the most simple facial expressions.
Questions to Expect
“Tell me about yourself”
Start with your current educational situation, then add any work experience, extra-curricular activities relating to the course and aspirations for your academic study or career path.
“Why do you want to study this course?”
Talk about what got you interested in the first place, then go into detail on how you have maintained that interest ever since.
“Why do you want to come to this university?”
Before you head to the interview you must do your research on the university, the town itself, the accommodation, the societies and sports clubs that you can join.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Back up strengths with evidence of how you developed them. Counter any weaknesses with what you are proactively doing to improve.
If you want to look like you are interested in the course and the university there really is no better person to quiz than your interviewer.