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for the schools that I worked at that did a value ativ interviews there was always several things that I was looking for and and I think the way to think about it interview is very much a conversation yeah admissions people by nature a chatty people they like getting to know you they're not really looking to catch you in anything they want to have a good conversation with you and see what you're interested in and really try to get to know you so coming into that interview I was always looking for students who would one done their homework about my school you know so did they know did they come in knowing a lot about my institution and ready to sort of talk about that how it hits them but also you know how they might contribute to it talk about your experiences talk about what you've been involved with add a layer a depth that we wouldn't know if we just read an essay or saw the activity listed on a resume if you want to apply to selective and highly selective schools you need to learn how to talk about yourself that's a skill and especially doing it in a verbal way a lot of students I would say to them it could be very easy if I said to you you know you know tell me a little bit about how your best friend would describe you in your head you could probably come up with several examples and things they might say but to say that out loud for the first time might be a difficult thing to do I know a lot of students who would actually not like that question at all because they don't like talking about themselves you know if I gave them the option of you know you can write me a two-page paper about how your best friend would describe you or you know you could stick yourself in the eye with your pen what would be less painful a lot of kids would go boom be done and be excited about that because they're not used to talking about themselves so going into an interview you definitely want to be thinking about what am i comfortable with how can I talk about myself and in different areas of my life so my academic life my extracurricular life maybe a little about my family these are all areas that you know interviewers might talk about what you want to do to prepare yourself is not think of it as a formal job interview but an opportunity for you to learn more about the institution and to discuss your interest in that in that institution why you're applying to that school maybe there's a particular program or a particular professor that you're interested in learning more about that really sort of encouraged you to apply to that institution prepare yourself by coming prepared with questions to ask that interviewer and don't ask some questions you can get out of the guy right you know ask them questions that they can answer personally a lot of times it might be a recent graduate asking what their experiences like was it what they thought it was going to be like what has it been since they've graduated have they liked the alumni network in terms of you know helping them get jobs if it's somebody who's my age you know like you know you can ask them a little bit about we know how long have you worked here what's your take on this school what do you think the strengths are you know like or look I'm really interested in double majoring I know I can but how easy is that because that's hard to differentiate in the catalog or you know that we're really hard thing is can you tell me a little bit about what you think the the sort of philosophy of student life is here like I think that's a great question to ask because that's really what students want to get at but especially if they're in the summer and kids aren't around that's really hard to figure out and of course be prepared to answer questions about yourself about what interests you what you love about not only school but your other interests and hobbies and also to engage that interviewer in a more conversation like setting they're not going to sit there and shoot various questions at you they might ask you a couple questions but it really is just to get a conversation going admissions officers are going to ask you questions in the academic arena right so and that's fair game so what are you excited about what what subjects have you really you know loved in high school are those things you want to continue with in college is there a certain teacher or a certain way of teaching this really gets you excited about this I think all of that is fair game I always talk to students to say look you know make sure you're you're able to sort articulate like why you love math not just that I'm a math guy but why right look to get what gets you excited about math and and why do you want us and why do you think you'd be a good fit - yes what about they would say Williams math program would be really exciting for you here all right so academic stuff is game right if you say you know I love you know the 60s and I spent a lot of time you know reading about the 60s and you know I was an American Studies major I love that time period - you've opened yourself up to me asking you a lot of questions about that if you don't know about that stuff you open the gate I think I'm think it's fair game for me to go into that gate you know it's not fair for an admissions officer to say what do you think about you know the the art from the 19th century what's your favorite you know period and and because you may have no interest in that right and but if you say I love art from the 19th century and I'm in our history major I may go right into that so again academics it's always gonna be on the table they're gonna certainly want to know about your extracurriculars what are you involved in what do you like what do you think you might want to do in college if you're talking about something that you've done talk about the why behind what you've done you know talk about the passion talk about the energy you know talk about the time that you put into it you know talk about the emotions of the experience as opposed to thinking there's a certain thing that we want to hear or just worrying about your articulation some colleges have a secondary purpose or college interviews and that is to sort of gauge how much interest you have in them if you go to a website if you go to the College website you know it'll give you some information about what's the purpose of the interview but also is it required is it not required you know those sorts of things and if the you know the interview is strongly suggested or required obviously that's something you probably want to take advantage of and schools will look at that and see especially if it's strongly required I'm sorry strongly encouraged and you don't take advantage of that the school may read that as you're just not as interested in us I know you know from personal experience we've had schools that will say to us your students are within two hours of us you know unless you know they're from a low-income background that don't have the opportunity to come to us we're gonna expect them to come then if they don't and do a tour do an information session maybe do our interview we're probably going to read that as being less interested if you are granted an interview and feel like you may not be able to participate for whatever reason maybe it's distance maybe it's a scheduling issue it's okay to let that institution know and communicate with them and perhaps offer an alternative such as a phone interview or Skype interview again some schools they're gonna put a lot of emphasis on an interview a lot of other schools you know may not have any so it's understanding sort of what the what the process is with the interview as well so again it's it's something you're gonna potentially do in this process and it's something to be prepared for