How to Prepare for Your University Admission Interview

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Engy Hassan

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21 September, 2020

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4 mins read

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Depending on your degree program and university choice, some universities might require a pre-admission interview to evaluate you better. Admission decisions in the UK are usually based on academic achievements; however, certain departments and major universities like Cambridge and Oxford use interviews as a way to compare and choose between applicants with good chances to enter the university.  

Being in a situation where you know you are being evaluated is always hard, maybe a bit nerve-racking, but we are here to help you prepare, and get the opportunity you've always dreamt of! 

Your ultimate goal in an interview is to be memorable, you want to stand out from the crowd, and leave a subtle impact and a genuine smile on your interviewers' faces. All this can be achieved through 3 main stages. 

Stage One: Before The Interview. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind before the interview:

1. Plan ahead and research the best transportation to your interview. Book a hotel if needed, and save the location of the interview on Google maps to navigate easily without any hassle. 

2. Stay informed and up to date with what is happening in the world, starting from news about your course, to political and economic events. 

3. Rehearse either with a close teacher of yours who can give you advice or with a couple of your friends after you hand them a copy of the questions mentioned below. 

4. Sleep well and hydrate yourself to stay focused. Eat a healthy nutritious breakfast before you go, practice self-affirmation, and root yourself with the idea of, whatever happens, it will definitely be the best-case scenario for you.  

Stage Two: The Day Of The Interview

On the day of the interview, there are many factors you have to keep in mind:

1. Your outfit and overall appearance: You can determine this detail by asking the person who will call you for your interview if there is a dressing code. If not, you can choose to be yourself and dress in a way that expresses your personality without getting too dolled up! The perfect midpoint would be a smart look, with a slim shirt and neat trousers. 

2. Your body language: Maintain eye contact with your interviewer to show your confidence and always practice your posture before the interview.  

3. Your attitude: Keep a positive attitude throughout the interview, keep a smiley face, be gentle, thoughtful and engaging; give the interviewer a compliment if the situation allows it and just enjoy the experience! 

4. Your ability to ask questions: Maybe your interviewer's voice is a bit low, or their dialects are a bit hard to comprehend, and that's okay, just communicate openly instead of faking something you don't understand. It's perfectly fine to ask the interviewer to repeat the question. 

5. Your Nerves: Be prepared for surprises; maybe they will give you a quick quiz to answer in a very short amount of time, but don't let it get you, relax and take the wave, it's probably not as bad as you think! 

Stage Three: The Interview And Most Common University Questions 

Always arrive early for your admission interview; punctuality is essential to stay calm while answering the questions. Regardless of where your interview will be, your list of questions will probably include some of the below examples. Stay calm and study the best way to answer these questions below.

1. Tell us more about yourself. 

Be as passionate as you can, don't consume much time telling obvious details like your name, age and your typical list of skills, the interviewers have already seen it in your application. Instead, you can talk about more interesting things that no one really knows about you, like your Origami addiction and how it helps your creativity or how you were amazed by the Aghori culture and therefore you decided to study Cultural Anthropology.   

2. Why Do You Want to Attend This University? 

You'll need to do some research about the university you are applying for, keep some notes of its most famous attributes and make sure to keep it as concise as you can. Some of the main points you might want to make a quick checklist of are history, awards, most famous college/major and public figures graduated from the university.

3. Why Do You Want to Study This Subject?

You can start with explaining to the interviewer how your thought process actually works, take the Golden Circle Theory of Simon Sinek as an example, and start with answering each one of the three questions that the theory holds. Why, how, and what are the three questions that will help you figure out why, how and with what you are doing anything! 

4. What Are Your Academic Strengths & Weaknesses? How Have You Addressed Them?

Don't just list them, explain how you discovered them, how you invested your time into bettering them and provide examples of how you have used these.

5. What Are You Reading at the Moment?

Don't be afraid of showing what you are interested in; most students think it's better to mention a book with a big name to sound intellectual and worthy, when in fact you are worthy in your own way, and your unique interests could be the best thing that ever happened to you! Don't ever be afraid of showing who you are, just do it smartly and do it with a flare. Show a deep interest of whoever the author is, discuss some areas of the book to exhibit how it slightly changed your way of thinking, or your overall perspective on life.

6. Specific Questions Related to Your Subject.

This one is all on you and your search skills. However, there are some main points you can know more about, like the career you want to seek after you earn your degree, the main areas that caught your interest, how much you think of the course and how it'll impact the world in the future. 

7. What Achievement Are You Most Proud of?

Whether it's the struggle, you faced getting your A+, the modest financial background you come from, or the hours you put into your sports practice to get the scholarship of your dreams. Be proud of what you've accomplished, and tell your story with confidence! 

8. Do you have any questions for me?

Expressing curiosity and asking about the next step is a good idea to end an admission interview.   

Finally, university life is one of the greatest experiences anyone can have in their lifetime. However, it's not the end of the world if you don't get accepted by your first choice, there are always other options, and there is more to life than just waiting for the opportunity to come! Do your best, get these questions sorted out, prepare yourself and the world will do the rest for you. Good Luck! 


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