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How to prepare for a uni interview
As part of the uni application process, some universities require candidates to attend an interview, either in person or online. It all depends on the individual course department as to whether you’ll be interviewed or not, but some of the most common courses that require candidates to interview include medicine, dentistry, primary education, social work and nursing.
While uni interviews might sound a little daunting initially, with the correct preparation, they are a fantastic way to show the university what you have to offer and to showcase your skills, achievements and future ambitions. So, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of our top tips to help you breeze your way through your uni interview, if you are invited to one.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for a uni interview:
- Thoroughly research the university & course
- Review your application documents
- Practise common interview questions
- Look presentable & professional
- Have a number of questions ready to ask
1. Thoroughly research the university & course.
First things first, do your research to find out as much information as you can about the university. You will be up against many other strong candidates, and something that can set you apart from the rest is your knowledge of the university.
Conducting thorough research also shows that you’ve got a genuine interest in the university and the course, and interviewers will appreciate candidates who have clearly taken the time to research.
Here are some ways you can research the university:
- Visit their website
- Familiarise yourself with the faculty staff members
- Look for the university’s rankings, awards and accreditations
- Explore success stories or profiles of past students from the university
It’s also equally important to research the course you’re interviewing for, as it not only enables you to articulate why you are interested in the course, what excites you about the course and how it aligns with your career goals, but it also, like the above, demonstrates your genuine interest and enthusiasm for the subject and the course.
2. Review your application documents.
It’s also a good idea to thoroughly review your application, personal statement, and any additional materials you submitted prior to your interview.
During the interview, you will more than likely be asked about your academic achievements, work experience and other information stated on your application documents. It’s important that the information in your application aligns with what you discuss during the interview, as consistency is key if you want to present a reliable and truthful representation of your qualifications and experiences.
Thoroughly reviewing your personal statement also allows you to anticipate possible questions the interviewers might ask based on your application. You can proactively think about how to answer these questions and present yourself in the best light.
This brings us nicely onto our next point…
3. Practise common interview questions.
Preparation and practice are key to performing well in a uni interview, and practising common interview questions can really help your confidence when it comes to the real thing.
Most universities will ask the same type of common questions, such as ‘why do you want to study this course?’, ‘why do you want to study at this university?’, ‘what are your academic and career goals?’. Make sure you have your responses to these questions prepared, polished and memorised. That said, it’s important to balance these prepared answers with sounding natural and un-scripted in the interview, as you want your answer to sound authentic and from the heart.
What is the star interview technique?
One of the best interview techniques for answering questions is using the STAR method, i.e. use the situation, task, action and result method to structure your answer. This is especially helpful for behavioural questions, such as ‘tell us about a time when’ and looks a little something like this:
- Firstly, describe the situation or context you’re going to talk about
- Specify the task or challenge you were faced with
- Explain the actions you took to address the situation
- Finally, share the result or outcome of your action
4. Look presentable & professional.
This one might sound obvious, but looking presentable for a university interview is absolutely crucial when it comes to making a good first impression. This is because appearance is often the first thing people notice about you, so you want to make a positive first impression in order to set a favourable tone for the interview.
Dressing in a professional manner also shows the interviewers that you’re taking the interview seriously and are prepared to engage in a formal discussion about your academic and career goals. If you haven’t made an effort in your appearance, it might signal to the interviewers that you’re not serious about the interview or that you have little respect for the interview process.
Now, we’re not saying you need to dig out your finest suit, but universities will generally expect candidates to dress smart. Even if you have an online interview via Skype or Zoom, you’ll be expected to look presentable. That said, feeling comfortable is important and will help you perform better, so make sure that you choose an outfit that you’ll be comfortable and happy in sitting down for that period of time.
What should you wear to a university interview?
What to wear for a university interview can vary depending on the program you’re applying for, as some subject areas may have a more formal dress code than others. For example, law or business courses may require a smarter and more formal outfit compared to arts or humanities courses. So, ensure you research the course’s culture and norms regarding dress code.
That said, there are a number of general guidelines when it comes to what you should wear to a university interview:
- Avoid loud colours or patterns
- Avoid open-toe or overly casual footwear
- Ensure footwear is clean and polished
- Avoid overly casual items like jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, or sandals.
- Opt for smart jackets, for example a blazer.
Discover more uni interview dress code guidelines here.
5. Have a number of questions ready to ask.
Interviews are not only a chance for the university to get to know you and find out what you will offer as a student, but they are also a fantastic opportunity for you to find out everything you need to know about the university, and to decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you. This is why it’s essential that you prepare a number of smart and well thought out questions to ask at the end.
Remember, interviews are a two-way process, and selecting a university is a big decision, so you want to find out as much as you can about the course, campus, student accommodation, student life and department to help you make an informed choice. Asking questions will also show the interviewers that you are genuinely interested in the course.
Best questions to ask in a university interview.
Here are some of the best questions to ask in a university interview to a) show that you’re genuinely interested in the university & course and b) to find out as much as you can before making a decision.
- What sets this uni apart from the rest?
- How is the curriculum structured?
- How does the uni assist students in finding internships or job placements relevant to their field of study?
- What qualities does this university look for in its students?
- Are there often networking events, workshops, or alumni panels where students can interact with other graduates?
- What facilities are available for students to enhance their learning?
- What is the atmosphere like on campus and in student halls?
And there we have it! We hope this article helps when it comes to preparing for your uni interview.
For more information about starting uni, check out our student blog packed with articles on the clearing process, how to secure student accommodation, how to write personal statements, the benefits of private student accommodation, how to choose the right uni course and much more!
Written by Kate for Host.
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