Are You Ready for Your Admission Interview?
Quiz yourself to see just how prepared you are, or aren't, for your upcoming interviews
by Stephanie Small
Published January 23, 2011
Are You Ready?
Keep your eyes on your own quiz
- The steps you take to prepare for the interview are:
a) Showering and skimming the school’s website a few times.
b) Researching the school by checking out its website and admissions materials. Speaking with current and past students and faculty about their experiences there as well as areas of research. Learning how it differs from similar institutions. Anticipating what interview questions you might be asked and preparing answers. Deciding what key facts about yourself you want to be sure to get across. Role playing the interview process with a friend.
c) Cracking your knuckles.
- When dressing for the interview, you wear:
a) Elegant business casual, and maybe a small creative accessory if it doesn’t stand out too much
b) Doc Martens and a green Mohawk
c) A seersucker suit, and bring a pipe to smoke halfway through
- My handshake is:
a) Firm and assertive
b) Cold, clammy and limp, like a piece of cod
c) Really hard, because harder is better!
- When the interviewer asks you if you had any trouble finding the place, you answer:
a) “Oh, man, yes. Google maps totally messed me up. And look, check out the salsa all over my sweater. That’s from the burrito I was trying to eat in the car on the way over.”
b) “No, because I have an amazing sense of direction. I also apply myself rigorously to every course of study I choose. I took the Science Fair prize in 6th grade.”
c) “No, thanks for asking.”
- The interviewer asks you why you want to attend this school. You answer:
a) That you feel it’s a great fit with your skills and abilities, and go on to list specific and entertaining examples that highlight how your experience, academic interests and philosophy mesh perfectly with the school.
b) That it’s close by and cheap.
c) That it’s not actually your first choice, more like third, but you feel there are still some good things about it, such as the great selection in the vending machines.
- The interviewer asks you what you feel your weaknesses are. You answer:
a) “My pyromania”.
b) “My left knee, since I hurt it in a skiing accident.”
c) “I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed, but I think I’m getting better about it.”
- The interviewer asks you some totally ridiculous, out-of-left-field question that you have no idea how to answer. Here’s your reply:
a) “That’s a ridiculous question and I have no idea how to answer it.”
b) “Uhhhhh….” followed by a blank, deer in the headlights stare.
c) You make a valiant attempt to come up with some sort of creative and reasonable response, and acknowledge that the question threw you off a bit. Then you get back on your game ASAP.
- Your answers are:
a) Concise, with lots of examples illustrating your experience, and occasionally humorous.
b) Long winded, but you wrap up when you see the interviewer start to look bored and glance at the clock. Usually.
c) Short. As short as possible.
- After the interview, you:
a) Wait to hear from the interviewers about their final decision.
b) Cry, because you think you blew it.
c) Send a handwritten note or email thanking the interviewers for their time and reiterating your interest in their program.
1 – B
2 – A
3 – A
4 – C
5 – A
7 – C
8 – A
9 - C
Ok, now what?
Sure, the answers aren't rocket science, but use this quiz as a starting point of topics to cover as you begin preparing and practicing for your interviews. Is your suit pressed and ready? Do you have a portfolio with copies of your most recent resume? Have you started researching the program, its faculty and their research?
Take it from us, don't wait until the night before your interview to begin preparing. If you do, you may feel extra nervous, and it's likely to show through to your interviewers that you rushed to pull yourself together. Take at least 30 minutes a day during the week prior to your interview and follow these simple tips.
· Write down anticipated interview questions and your answers to them. This will allow you the time to think through your answers and review them beforehand so you are less likely to hesitate during the real deal.
· Review your resume for talking points, and think about timely anecdotes related to your skills and experience.
· Read up on the members of the admission committee so you can ask intelligent questions about their research and express your interest accordingly.
· Lay out your outfit in advance so you aren't tempted to re-think it the day of the interview and make yourself late because of it.
· Print out directions to the interview, plan ahead for parking arrangements and don't forget to bring a campus map.
Stephanie Small holds a BA in English from Yale University and an MSW from the Smith College School for Social Work.