Common Interview Questions

Now that your SOP and LORs have been taken care of, it’s time to focus your attention on the next and most dreaded step of the admission process—the interview round. Many foreign universities conduct interviews as the final step in the admission process to determine if candidates who have done well on the written examinations are equally good in face-to-face interviews. However, most students succumb to the pressure and end up doing badly at the interview. The trick lies in preparing thoroughly for the interview a few weeks in advance. Despite all the preparation, if the interviewers ask you a tricky question, pause for a few seconds, compose your thoughts and then answer the question rather than jumping straight to the answer. However, don’t pause for a long time. The interviewers might think that you don’t know the answer to the question and might give you a negative mark.

Common Interview Questions and Tips on How to Answer:

To help you clear the interview process without any hassle, we’ve provided a list of the 10 most common interview questions and a few tips on how to answer these questions carefully:

1. For what reason did you pick this subject?

This question is likely to be asked in the interview. Hence, think of different ways in which you can answer this question. Highlight different aspects such as how you love to learn different things related to the field and how it aligns with your career objectives. Avoid saying things such as “Completing the course will help me earn more money.” Also, don’t say things such as “I selected this subject because my friends suggested it.” In short, don’t say anything which shows that you haven’t really put much thought into this decision.

2. For what reason did you pick this college?

This is the second most important question that is likely to be asked in almost all interviews. This is the time to put your research into use. You could talk about key features and facilities of the college that will enhance your learning experience. You could also talk about the reputation of the college for the given subject, the college’s unique approach to the subject or any specific quality that sets it apart from other universities. However, avoid saying things like, “I love the nightlife here,” or “This university is cheaper than the rest.” Such answers will create doubts about your intentions.

3. What made you select your specific A-levels?       

For this question, focus on your course. You could say something like, “The subjects supplement each other and enhance the value of the course.” You could also talk about the wide range of skills you could develop by taking these courses. All these answers indicate that you have thought about your chosen course well in advance. However, don’t be cheeky and say things like, “These subjects had the least amount of homework” or “I like the tone of these subjects.”

4. What are you reading at present?    

This question is likely to be asked if you’ve chosen a subject that requires you to do a lot of reading (e.g. English literature). Such questions help the interviewer understand how engaged you are. It also helps the admissions panel gain a thorough understanding of your personality. Hence, prepare yourself well in advance and catch up on your reading habits if you’ve been slacking.

5. How might your mates portray you?          

This question would be asked to gain an understanding of your unique qualities. Describe qualities that would be relevant to the course. For instance, saying that you love to collaborate with people would have a greater impact than simply saying that you’re caring and lovable. Also, support your statements with specific instances. You could also do this as an exercise with friends. Talk to your friends and ask them to list down five top qualities that come to their mind when they think about you.

6. What would you be able to convey to the college? 

A. Although it would be tempting to brag about yourself, avoid doing so and focus on main points instead. Talk about an academic achievement or your contribution to a major project at your undergraduate school or workplace. The interviewers might also ask another question towards the end—“For what reason should we offer you a seat?” To answer this question, summarize your key strengths as a student and community member.

7. What accomplishment would you say you are most pleased with?

A. While answering this question, make sure that you stick to recent academic achievements. Furthermore, mention how these achievements had a positive impact and motivated you to perform better in subsequent examinations.

8. What are your most prominent qualities and shortcomings?          

A. This question might be similar to the earlier question on how your friends portray you. However, don’t repeat answers. Make sure that you say something different each time. Moreover, avoid using standard statements such as “I’m a team player.” Think of specific instances at your school or workplace and then make a note of the specific qualities that enabled you to deal with the given situation. While talking about your weaknesses, be honest. However, focus on what you’ve done to overcome your weakness rather than talking about the weakness itself.

9. How many years of work experience do you bring to the table? What has it shown you? 

The admission officers will be interested in learning about what your work experience has taught you. Stick to those aspects that are relevant to your course. For example, you could say “After spending 4 years in the automobile industry, I have gained a complete understanding of the challenges faced by the industry and am really interested in finding solutions to the same.”

10. What are your plans after college?

Interviewers usually ask this question to get an insight into your future goals. Be brief and to the point. You could say something like, “I plan to kick-start my career in the “journalism industry” (mention a field related to your course). Avoid saying things like, “I don’t know.” or “I haven’t thought about it yet.”