Now that you’ve got a good idea of the questions that are likely to be asked during the interview, let’s move on to the actual interview situation. University admission interviews usually fall into two categories—evaluative and informative. As the name suggests, an evaluative interview is conducted to help the admissions officers assess your analytical, strategic thinking and communication skills. On the other hand, an informative interview provides a slightly relaxed environment where you have the chance to learn more about the university. Similarly, the admissions officer gets to know more about you. Your interview could also be a combination of both these types of interviews. The interview could last for about ten minutes or stretch to an hour. Usually it is conducted by one officer, but it could also be conducted by a group of officers. Having learnt about the actual interview situation, let’s jump straight to some tips that would help you to be prepared for the final interview.
Here are some tips you could use to ensure that you’re well prepared for the final interview:
1. Positive Attitude: This is the most important aspect that is often overlooked by aspiring candidates. Make sure that you’re positive throughout the interview as well as the preparation process. Avoid self-defeating thoughts like “I’m not sure if I’ll do well” or “What if I fail?” Replace these negative thoughts with positive statements like “I’m going to give my 100 percent for this interview.” Remember: You’ve worked really hard to get this far; your efforts will definitely get rewarded.
2. Know the Course Inside Out: Before going for the interview read about the course in great detail. Learn about the different components and identify one or two factors that make the course unique and different from similar courses offered by other universities. This will help you answer questions related to the subject and convey to the interviewer that you are passionate about the subject.
3. Keep a Handy List of Questions Ready: While going through the course material and information about the university, note down a few questions that you could ask the interviewer. This would indicate that you are well prepared and would demonstrate your willingness to learn.
4. Indulge in Practice Interviews: Before appearing for the final interview, you could engage in a couple of mock interviews with friends or family members. This would help you build your confidence and identify weak points like “pausing too much in between, using words like “umm...,” etc.
5. Read your SOP thoroughly: The admissions officer will be interested in gathering supporting evidence for the claims given in the SOP. So, be sure to read and reread your SOP to note down specific points for which you could mention anecdotes and instances. Also, avoid repeating statements from your SOP. The interviewer would have already gone through your SOP and would have a fair idea of what’s in it.
6. Learn all about the University and Department: While preparing for the interview, try and find out multiple things about the university and the specific department you wish to apply to. Once you’ve gathered this information, think of different ways in which you could use it during your interview. The interviewer would surely be impressed by this knowledge. However, be your usual self and don’t go overboard.
7. Dress for the Occasion: Make sure that you are dressed for the occasion. Choose smart formal clothes. However, check that they’re comfortable. If you’re not comfortable in these clothes, you’re not going to be able to answer questions properly.
8. Be on time: Reach on time for the interview. Ensure that you are at the venue at least 15 minutes before the interview. If the place is a little far away from where you live, account for delays due to traffic jams or road blocks.
9. Be well Versed in Current Affairs: Read up recent articles, blogs and newspaper snippets related to your subject. This is a good way to demonstrate your willingness to learn things outside the syllabus.
10. Think of Unique Aspects of your Personality: Think of ways in which you could highlight exceptional qualities. The interviewer would be meeting several candidates at the time. Hence, say something that would leave a lasting impression.