Top 5 Questions to Ask in an Admissions Interview

Your college admissions interview is a great chance for you to get the inside scoop about a university from somebody who knows first-hand. Take advantage of this valuable opportunity and prepare accordingly. The following five suggestions are examples of questions that could both make a good impression on the college admissions interviewer and aid you in learning more about the school: 1) questions that you can only ask during a live interview, 2) questions that help you find out what makes this college unique, 3) questions that show the interviewer you've done your research about the college, 4) questions that reveal the special academic and extracurricular programs the university offers, and 5) questions that help you understand if your personality and interests would be a good fit at this college. 

1. What should I know about this college that I cannot learn elsewhere?

It is best to avoid asking questions that can be easily answered with some quick online research. Don’t waste your time asking questions like, “What is the most common major here?” or “How many undergraduate students are there?” Questions of this type will indicate to the interviewer that you have not done your homework, or that you do not have a genuine interest in their institution. Instead, ask unique, original queries that demonstrate how you have given that school a great deal of thought. One of the main purposes of the admissions interview is for the prospective student to gain knowledge about the university that the more accessible sources fail to supply.



2. What makes this college stand out from other colleges of similar size, cost, and academic reputation?

This is a very important question. You should remember that college is like a business in that you will be investing quite a lot of money and time into it. Like any wise consumer, you should know the selling points of the universities that you’re interested in so you can adequately compare them to one another and ultimately make a smart decision. However, be careful with your tone when you ask a question like this one. You don’t want to sound arrogant or critical to the person who interviews you. Rather, give the interviewer a fair chance to explain why he/she thinks said university is extraordinary.

For example, here are sample questions you could ask regarding resources the college offers for career preparation:

Example college admissions interview question What you can find out by asking this college admissions interview question


What career planning resources does the college offer?

Attending college can be an expensive endeavor for you and your family. You want to find out how the college helps graduates find suitable jobs


What employers attend jobs fairs or actively recruit at this campus?

Finding out what companies already have ties with the college could help you determine future job prospects


What is the average time to graduation for this specific major at this college?

Finding out the average time to degree completion can help you as you estimate total cost of attendance. There may be certain degrees or tracks that take longer or shorter than the typical 4-year undergraduate degree


3. Questions that prove you have done your research about the college

Before you set off for your college admissions interview, make a conscious effort to learn a bit about the school in question. Glance over the institution’s webpage, or do some independent research of your own. For example, you might want to know approximately when and why the college was founded, what it’s most famous for, and what its most reputable degree programs are. You don’t need to know every aching detail about the university, but you should definitely have some background information on it. Here are 10 tips for acing your college admissions interview that may help you prepare. Remember that the interviewer will be asking you questions also, so you must be somewhat familiar with the university you are discussing. A little research could make a big difference! 

4. What special or unique programs does your university have to offer?

This is a rather broad question. The interviewer could respond with descriptions of study abroad opportunities, combined degree programs, internships, and more. You may want to consider narrowing the question as you see fit to your particular needs. For example, if you know you will choose to major in Engineering, inquire about programs specifically geared toward students who are aspiring engineers. After all, college is supposed to train students to become qualified professionals who are capable of entering the workforce. The material presented in college-level curricula should always be reinforced by application and practice. Your university should give you a top-notch education while allowing you to apply what you learn in relevant contexts.

Here are some example questions to consider, to unearth the college's special programs:

  1. Do you offer study abroad programs? If so, what majors are eligible?
  2. Do you offer co-op programs where a student can intern part-time or full-time for a company?
  3. Do you offer combined degree programs?
  4. Does the college have any special partnerships with local employers?
  5. Does the college have any partnerships with local non-profits?
  6. Does the college offer special programs in entrepreneurship? 

5. What kind of student is happiest here?

The interviewer’s answer to this question should give you some insight into the personality of the school. By asking this question, you might find out if Greek life plays a dominant role in the social scene, or if attending the big football games is an integral part of campus life. The quality of the education is usually the most weighted factor when students decide which college to attend. However, you also want to ensure that you will be content with the culture and social dynamics of your university. One student may dislike what another student loves, so try to get an in-depth understanding of the university on an extracurricular level as well.


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