How Important Are College Interviews?

College interviews, while not always mandatory, significantly impact admissions. They allow applicants to showcase their interest and stand out. Being prepared by researching the school and anticipating common questions is key.

Do college interviews really matter? As you prepare for your college applications, you may be wondering if the interview is worth your time. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of the college interview and some tips on how to make the most of it.

At a Glance:

  • College interviews can significantly influence admission decisions.
  • Not all schools require interviews, but they offer a personal touch beyond paper applications.
  • Preparation, including researching the school and anticipating questions, is crucial.
  • Presentation matters: dress professionally and bring relevant documents.
  • While beneficial, interviews aren’t always necessary; decide strategically.

Why College  Interviews are Important

Although all schools do not require college interviews, they can be a helpful way to stand out from the crowd. It enables you to demonstrate your interest in the school. By meeting with an admissions officer or alumni interviewer, you can show that you are willing to go the extra mile to learn more about the school and what it can offer.

Many institutions, as highlighted by The College Board, consider interviews a critical element in their admissions calculus. For some, an interview could even be the deciding factor in the final admissions verdict, as it offers a holistic view of the applicant beyond grades and test scores.

These interviews not only serve as a platform for candidates to express their genuine interest in an institution but also give them a chance to interact directly with admissions officers or alumni representatives. Such interactions underscore an applicant’s commitment and eagerness to delve deeper into what the institution offers academically and culturally.

How to Make the Most of Your College Interview 

If you’re planning to interview for college, here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience:

Be Prepared

Before your interview, take some time to research the school and be familiar with its programs, admissions requirements, and campus life. This will help you ask more informed questions and demonstrate your interest in the school.

When preparing for your interview, be sure to research the school and its programs. This will help you ask more informed questions and demonstrate your interest in the school.

Acknowledge the Common Interview Questions

In addition to researching the school, it’s also a good idea to prepare for common interview questions. For example, many college interviews will include questions about your academic and extracurricular achievements, future goals, and reasons for applying to the school.

By preparing for these questions in advance, you’ll be able to give thoughtful, well-reasoned answers that will impress the interviewer.

Bring an Activity List or Resume

Your interviewer will likely ask about your extracurricular activities, so it’s a good idea to include a list of your involvement in clubs, sports, and other activities. You may also want to bring a copy of your resume to refer to during the interview.

Dress for Success

You should dress appropriately for your college interview as first impressions are always important. Therefore, try to wear clothing that is professional or business casual. Avoid wearing jeans, shorts, t-shirts, or other casual attire. You should also avoid wearing anything too revealing or flashy.

Be Professional

Remember that your college interview is a professional meeting, so it’s crucial to be respectful and courteous to your interviewer. Arrive on time, turn off your phone, and avoid using slang or profanity.

Prepare Questions to Ask

In addition to answering questions, you’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions during your interview. This is your chance to learn more about the school and better understand whether it’s the right fit for you.

Some good questions to ask include:

  • What does it feel like to be a student at the school?
  • What are the most popular majors at the school?
  • What are the student organizations on campus?
  • What are the housing options for students?
  • What are the school’s safety and security policies?
  • What are the career opportunities for graduates?

You can show interest in the school and get a better sense of whether it’s the right fit for you by asking these questions.

When Is It Appropriate to Not Join the Interview?

Sometimes, you may decide that it’s not worth your time or effort to interview for a particular school. For example, if the school is not your top choice, or if you don’t feel like you would be a strong candidate for admission, it may not be worth your while to interview.

You should also consider whether you will likely be admitted without an interview. For example, if you’re applying to a school with rolling admissions, you may not need to interview since decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Ultimately, whether or not to interview is up to you. However, if you decide not to interview, be sure to let the school know so they don’t expect to hear from you.


Overall, college interviews can be pretty influential. They allow you to learn more about the school and demonstrate your interest in it. However, they are not always necessary, and you should consider whether or not they are worth your time and effort.

If you do decide to interview, be sure to be prepared for it. This means researching the school, preparing for common interview questions, and bringing along an activity list or resume. You should also dress for success and remember to be respectful and professional.

Best of luck!