Shannon Presley Alexander
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I know the day is quickly approaching; after years of tediously plugging away at your high school education you’re now facing the opportunity to further your knowledge at your dream college/university. While you know you have met the standard prerequisites for the admissions process and your application has been submitted, you still have the potential admissions interview as part of your acceptance process. This interview allows you the opportunity to share who you are and what you know, as well as your interest in their college. So how do you demonstrate this while making a good impression vocalizing your qualifications without getting tongue tied, flustered or embarrassed? If you are ready to equip yourself with the tools needed to carry on a conversation such as this with poise and confidence, keep reading.

The trick is to be prepared. Prepare, prepare, prepare… I can’t stress that enough. The fewer worries you have to deal with the day of the interview the better. This encompasses many variables: from getting to your appointment early, having a firm hand shake and maintaining eye contact, to a hand written thank you note as a follow up. As you continue reading, understand that devoting time to one of these will make a difference however conjointly your confidence should increase drastically.

    1. Research:
      • Conduct your own study on the college. Learn the college’s history, traditions, and statistical facts
      • Use this as a learning opportunity; have at least three intelligent questions to ask regarding most important things of interest
    2. Know Yourself:
      • Why do you want to attend this college? What does it have to offer you and how it will advance your journey? What you can bring to their campus should they select you?
      • Be able to convey knowledge and excitement about your academic interests; as well as, providing a peek into your talents and dreams. Identify the extracurricular activities and achievements you’d like to share and examples of your strengths and weaknesses
    3. Practice:
      • Ask friends/family to assist you with a mock interview or practice in front of the mirror. Research sample questions from the internet and role play. While your answers do not need to be memorized, you don’t want to sound scripted, you should gain confidence in having a general idea of how you would answer these questions
      • Record/video yourself so you can review your answers and recognize areas of difficulties for ‘spot work’ (nervous ticks, stuttering, filler words, voice control, facial expressions, etc.)
    4. Overcoming the Jitters: BREATH! Breathing deeply and purposefully makes it easier to stay calm. Think before you speak! If a question is asked, take a moment to breath and think about what is being asked prior to responding.

While facing important conversations such as college admissions interviews can evoke sweaty palms and pounding hearts, it doesn’t have to. As with anything, practice and preparation are vital to your success. As this occurs, your confidence will naturally increase. Remember to approach this ‘conversation’ with a positive and confident mindset. Be proud of who you are and confidently represent. Your genuinely sincere attitude will go far. And besides, you should exude confidence because you are the best authority on who you are and what you’re passionate about!