While they’ve become less common, many elite universities still use college interviews to gauge a student’s character and potential beyond what they see on paper.  Acing the interview can be the difference between acceptance and rejection; here are some Ivy Admissions tips to make sure you do!


Practice.  A lot.

The dreaded college interview is often the first time a student will have to put their qualities on display in front of another living, breathing person.  So, a healthy amount of practice is going to be the first order of business.  The College Board has a great resource which lists a variety of all-purpose questions, ranging from why you want to attend a particular university to describing your extracurriculars.  Rehearse each of those questions with a family member or one of our college counselors.  Don’t be afraid to brainstorm better responses while you’re practicing.  You should also use these practice sessions to get feedback on your body language.  Maintaining eye contact and being an active listener matter just as much as the words coming out of your mouth.


In addition to polishing your response to all-purpose questions, do some research on the types of questions that the school’s interviewers tend to ask.  This will give you an edge over the competition.  If you really want to go the extra mile, do some research on your interviewer and ask them about how their education has impacted their path through life.


Lastly, a word on your outfit.  You don’t have to wear formal attire, but you should wear something nice.  A clean button down for men or a nice dress for women will usually suffice.  If you aren’t totally sure, it’s almost always better to overdress.


Be yourself.

This is time honored advice for a reason.  Don’t be someone who you think the interviewer will like.  Talk about your goals and hobbies.  The mark of a great interview is when you can get your partner excited about your passions.  I think a great example of this is my friend Neil.  He’s aspired to become a music journalist for years; that was the focal point of his entire application.  He scored an interview with his top school and, by its conclusion, Neil was beatboxing and discussing upcoming rappers with his interviewer.  He was offered a very generous aid package  and is on track to live out his dreams.


Follow up

Always remember to send an email to your interviewer thanking them for their time.  As is the case with all thank you notes, make sure it’s personalized.  Touch on several things you discussed during the interview and reiterate how much you want to attend the college.  This is your last chance to leave a good impression on your interviewer.  Make sure that you use it!