How To Smash A University Interview

24th January 2024 Ellen Conning Jobs & Careers

Ah, the university interview, sounds daunting, right? You’ve poured your heart into applications, but now it’s time to face the music, or in this case, the interview panel. It’s perfectly normal to feel a tad jittery, after all, you’re not alone on this rollercoaster of nerve-wracking excitement. In this article, we’ll give you some great tips to help you through the exhilarating yet slightly intimidating world of university interviews. We get it; we’ve been there too. So, hang tight and let’s delve into the secrets of acing that university interview!

1. Do your Research

Picture this: You walk into an interview, and they ask you why you want to study journalism, and you’re there stammering about how you love horses. Not quite the right path, is it? Doing your research is like packing your bags before a trip – it’s essential. Dig into the depths of the university, the course you’re aiming for, and even the folks who’ll be grilling you. For instance, knowing the lay of the land around KCL, if you’re planning to head to King’s, is useful. Knowing the history, the legacy, and what they’re good at is a great start.

Pro tip: Get online, and find out everything you can. Know what makes the course tick, who’s the captain of the ship (department heads), and perhaps even a nugget or two about the interviewer. A little knowledge goes a long way, after all!

2. Understand Why You Want To Do This Course

It’s time to be introspective and ask yourself: why this course? Your passion is your compass here. Universities aren’t looking for sheep – they want eagles. Understand why you want to do this course, why it excites you, and how it aligns with your grand life plan. Be clear, concise, and as focused as a cat eyeing a laser pointer. Whether it’s the thrill of solving scientific mysteries, creating the latest innovations or wanting that London Campus experience, knowing your ‘why’ will give you the confidence of a lion leading its pride.

3. Prepare Questions To Ask Your Interviewer

The interview isn’t just a one-way street. Bringing your own questions shows that you’re ready to engage back with them, to be thrilled and excited by what they can offer in that moment, and most importantly, displays that spark, that enthusiasm to learn! Be prepared with questions, such as queries about the latest developments in the field, the university’s approach to teaching, or even what challenges they foresee. If you’re not sure where to start, Indeed has some great examples for questions that can help get your brain going. Show them you’re not just here for a stroll; you’re here to conquer Everest, armed with curiosity and a bag of questions.

Two people at an interview, with one handing a document over to another over a wooden table.

4. Plan Your Route Ahead

Remember the saying, ‘If you’re on time, you’re late’? Well, it applies here. Plan your journey to the interview like you’re mapping out a treasure hunt. Use Google Maps, ask your pet parrot for directions (just kidding), and make sure you arrive early. Being fashionably late won’t win you any gold stars. Arriving early gives you a chance to catch your breath, calm those nerves, and strut into that interview room with the grace of a ballerina.

5. Act Like You’re An Undergraduate

You’re not being tested on how many pi digits you know. The interviewer wants a sneak peek into your potential, and they’re checking if you’ll be the right fit for their institution. Be yourself, but the ‘best yourself’. Think like an undergraduate. What would they do? How would they act? No, it doesn’t mean turning into a campus comedian, but it means showing that you can handle the responsibilities of being a university student. Responsibility and maturity are the golden tickets here.

6. Dress For The Part

Ever heard of the phrase ‘dress to impress’? Well, in the interview world, it’s more like ‘dress to inform”. Like it or not, people make a lot of judgements about you within seconds of seeing you. The American Psychological Association has even written all about just how much first impressions count.

So, how can you make the most of your chance? Well, don’t go overboard – You don’t need a three-piece suit, but you do need to look like you mean business. Think business casual – smart, sharp, and ready to conquer the academic world. An untorn pair of jeans, a button-up shirt, and good, clean shoes are a good combo.

7. Don’t Forget Your Supporting Documents

Imagine this: You strut into the interview, the panel asks for your documents, and you’re there like a deer caught in headlights. Not the best look, right? Prepare a handy-dandy folder, binder, or even a USB drive filled with your academic masterpieces. Make sure it’s all organised and ready to dazzle. Different universities have different preferences, so do a little homework and present your supporting documents in the right format.

And there you have it, dear scholar-to-be! A guide to conquering the university interview dragon. Remember, it’s not about being the smartest cookie in the jar; it’s about being the right cookie for the jar. Do your research, strut your stuff, and show them you’re more than ready for this exciting academic adventure.

Ellen Conning

Ellen Conning

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