How to Approach Questions After an Admissions Interview

“So, do you have any questions for me?”

This is probably the one admissions interview question you forgot to prepare for. You remembered to go over your reasons for applying to this school, leadership stories from past clubs and organizations, and your academic aspirations, but you did not come up with any inquiries of your own. Ironically, this is one of the most important and telling parts of an interview. It may not feel like it, since this question is snuck in at the last minute just when you are wrapping up your conversation with happy relief, but be warned: it is not as much of a conversational throw-away as the admissions officer may make it sound.

Interviewers ask this to get an idea of how genuinely interested you are in this opportunity. This is what separates the applicants who are applying just to "be in college" from the appicants who really care and are excited about the prospect of attending this institution. This is your opportunity to show that you are actually thinking about what you would be doing at this school and how you could go about it. General questions or even worse, a lack of questions, could hurt your application status.

The best way to look at this is by easing your nerves about the “one-sidedness” of this interview. The reason most students probably forget to prepare questions or end up simply responding “no” to having any questions is because they view this as solely an interview about them. It is natural to go into an interview thinking you are the only subject being scrutinized in this conversation and that all you are responsible for is giving information about yourself to satisfy the interviewer’s inquiries.  However, what you need to understand is that this interview is equally an opportunity for you to learn more about them. The admissions officer will more than likely give you some valuable information about the school and program you're applying for throughout the interview, but if you are seriously invested in the possible reality of becoming a student there, that sporadically dropped information will not be enough to paint a complete picture for you necessary to answer all of your concerns.

Maybe you don’t know yet what your concerns are, and that is fine. You could very possibly be somewhat unfamiliar with what this school is all about and not even know where to begin in terms of specifics. But hey, isn’t that a concern? Whether you think you have them or not, concerns and questions are bound to pop up in your head as you think about this big decision. Now, you must be careful with these; you don’t want to only ask something like, “How big is the student body?” because that just shows you haven’t really looked into this university past the application form, which is certainly something the interviewer doesn’t want to hear. With that being said, you should first address all concerns that you can on your own. Really do your research on this school and do your best to find as many answers as possible by yourself - ideally, you'll be doing this anyway as you decide which schools you want to apply to in the first place. Then, you’ll be left with questions that even thorough research couldn’t answer.  The admissions officer will recognize these questions as things that cannot be easily found on their website and therefore will get see that you truly have taken an interest. 

With all of this in mind, be sure to prepare three to five questions that clearly display you have put in some thought. Also, thoroughly think through the likelihood of whether or not these will be addressed ahead of time by the admissions representative during the interview. You certainly don’t want to be in a situation where all of the questions you had in mind were already answered.Think about this as if you were already accepted into this school – what would you want and need to know in order to have the best experience possible? Take that kind of deep thought to the interview and you will probably come up with new questions along the way besides the ones you had prepared.