Congratulations on landing yourself a video admissions interview! Thanks to technology, university officials and students hundreds of miles apart can be brought together to discuss a prospective college. While there are certainly benefits to virtual interviews, they do not come without their own brand of quirks. Here are some pointers to make the best of your video admissions interview:
1. Make sure your internet connection is stable
Perhaps the most important factor in a video admissions interview is ensuring you have a stable internet connection. Without a stable connection where interviewers can see and hear you properly, your preparation, credentials, and enthusiasm could all be overshadowed.
Before your admissions interview, find out which areas in your house (or wherever you plan to perform the interview from) have the strongest signal. You can do this by wandering around with a laptop and looking at the number of signal bars, or by video chatting a friend and asking where the connection is most consistent. Maybe the best place for your video admissions interview is not your own house but a cousin’s or friend’s house. If your home does not get a strong internet signal, consider holding the interview elsewhere; you could reserve a private room in a library or other community building, for instance.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
When you are accustomed to seeing something every day — whether it is a band poster in your room or a stain on the wall in your kitchen — it’s easy to forget that it may be unsightly to a new eye. Take a look from the interviewer’s perspective before settling on a spot to hold your interview; think about how the interview environment will look from his or her point of view. Most platforms for video chatting have a test function that allows you to see yourself on screen, so take advantage of this feature; do not just guess which parts of the room will end up on screen. Again, you could also video chat with a friend to ask him or her for feedback on the room’s appearance behind you.
The background for your video admissions interview should be professional, tidy, and plain. Clean up any piles of clothes, papers, or garbage that might be visible to the interviewer. Also, ensure there is nothing behind you that the interviewer could find distracting, such as noisy patterns, large print signs, or even free-roaming pets. You want the interviewer to be solely focused on you and what you have to offer.
3. Still dress to impress
Since you might be doing your video admissions interview from home, you may be tempted to dress comfortably and keep a snack or cup of coffee within arm’s reach. However, the video admissions interview should be held in the same regard as any other interview, where your goal is to impress. Dress in semi-formal attire and make sure you are as well-groomed and presentable as you would be for any other interview. It’s acceptable to have a water bottle nearby since you will be talking a lot, but any other drink or food item (soda, chips, etc.) is not recommended.
Most importantly, turn off your cell phone! If you keep your phone on and within sight, you could be tempted to look at it. Ringtones and vibrations can be easily heard through video chat, so save yourself the embarrassment. Just hit the power or silence button; your texts and calls can wait.
Video admissions interviews deserve as much attention as classic in-person interviews. However, the complications that may arise are a bit different. By taking care of the technological and visual components of the process, you will be on your way to a successful video admissions interview.
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