Tips for preparing for a college interview and what to expect

Posted by Lucy Chakaodza on 20-Jan-2016 09:41:36


Interviews can be scary but there is no need to get stressed. It isn’t a test! What happens at the interview? The interview is a chance for you to find out more about the college and the courses you want to do. It also helps the college decide whether they have a suitable course for you.

Here are some top tips for getting the most out of the interview:

Before the interview:

  • Be prepared

Before your interview, you’ll receive an invitation letter which will tell you what you need to bring with you e.g. identification, qualification certificates or an employer reference. Read your letter carefully and make sure you have also read relevant general and course information.

  • Don’t be late

Plan ahead how you are going to get there and don’t be late! But if you are late, ring the number on your interview letter to let them know or to rearrange your interview.

  • Dress suitably

Think about what you are going to wear and the image you want to portray. Always dress smartly, so no jeans and trainers!

In the interview:

  • Body language

Always make eye contact, but don’t stare! Smile and sit up straight (no slouching) and maintain a positive attitude.

  • Handshake

Always aim for a firm, not crushing, handshake and again smile and make eye contact.

  • Questions you might be asked:

Tell me about yourself?

Talk about the current school you go to, what subjects you enjoy and are doing well at or any extracurricular activities and hobbies you take part in. Remember the interviewer is not looking for your whole life story, so keep it relevant.

Why have you applied for this course?

The tutor will be interested in why you have chosen the subject(s) you have. So think about your choices and why you picked them so you can be prepared. Maybe they are related to what you want to do at uni or to your future career path?

 What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Remember that it’s normal to be nervous. Make a mental list of your achievements and don’t be tempted to exaggerate them on the day!  You might want to mention doing well in a particular subject, being elected to the school council, any voluntary projects you have successfully completed or any sporting achievements you may have.

What are your long term goals?

This is a good opportunity to show that you have thought about where you want to study, what subject you wish to study and where it may lead. Mention your ambition and the plans you have for when you leave college.

Why have you chosen this college?

The tutor will want to know why you applied to the college. So prepare a few answers beforehand. Is it the reputation of the college, good facilities on offer or good feedback you received from former students?

Questions to ask the interviewer:

You might want to ask questions about: what support students get with their UCAS applications; what support there is for students wanting to study HE courses at the college; what work experience opportunities are on offer, what extracurricular  activities does the college have; what financial support is on offer; or what universities students progress onto.

And remember … be enthusiastic!

For A Levels at the City and Islington’s Sixth Form College: If we receive your application (including completed reference from your referee) by 31 January, and you meet the entry requirements, you will be contacted mid/late February to be invited to an interview that takes place mid-March.


Topics: Student life, Interviews, Sixth Form College