University interviews can be particularly daunting as it is a time when you are making choices that affect your future for the next three, four, or even five years. As well as the university seeing whether you are a good fit for the course, it is also an opportunity for you to see if the course is right for you. It may be possible for you to meet one of your tutors (virtually over the phone or face-to-face), or see a part of the university that you have not yet seen during an open day. Nevertheless, it is still important for you to prepare to ensure your application is successful, so follow this five step guide to ace your interview:
1. Research your course
Understand how the course will be taught and the different modules you may cover. Whatever form the interview takes place, it is vital that you can show your understanding of the subject, and convey your passion towards what it is you wish to study. Make sure you can demonstrate an understanding of your area (for example, if you’re applying for an accounting and finance course, keep up to date with the news and what is happening in the economy).
2. Re-read your Personal Statement
More often than not, the interviewer will refer back to your personal statement and may ask you questions about it. Refresh your memory and read over it again before your interview to make sure you do not contradict yourself. Also think of examples that could enrich what you have already said in your personal statement as this time you will not have to condense what you have to say down to 4,000 characters! However at the same time it is important to stick to the question and not waffle.
3. Evaluate potential questions
Like any interview, planning out questions can help you to answer any curveball question with confidence. Some frequently asked questions during a university interview include:
- Why do you want to study here
- Why have you chosen this course
- Your greatest strength (and weakness)
- Your biggest achievement
- What are you reading at the moment (or what news topic has caught your interest)
- Why did you choose your particular A-level or BTEC subjects
Based upon these questions, create a brief plan of how you would answer each one. It may be useful to list all of your skills and experiences first and find out what examples would fit in well with each question.
4. Plan your own questions
At the end of the interview you will get a chance to ask some questions of your own. Although you will have already researched the course in detail, you may want the interviewer to expand on certain points, so use this time wisely to get all of your burning questions answered. However, if you are stuck for ideas, here are some things you may want to ask:
- What characteristics do you look for in a good student
- How to prepare for the course
- What is the key to succeeding in this course
5. Do a mock interview
After researching the course, re-reading your personal statement and planning out different questions, it would be very valuable to organise a mock interview with a teacher, careers advisor or even family and friends. They will be able to give you feedback and help you with any questions you may be struggling with, or may even throw in an extra question you were not expecting (which will prepare you for answering questions when you’re nervous).
We wish you the very best of luck for your interview!