Interviews

Having an interview is not a requirement for admission. However, they can be an ideal opportunity to highlight characteristics and interests that are easier to convey in person than on paper

Some universities might have an interview opt-in field on their application forms, and some universities will automatically contact you after you apply to see if you are interested in interviewing. For other institutions, you might have to explicitly state you would like to interview.

Format

US university interviews are different to those for British universities. It is unlikely you will be interviewed by a faculty member. Most often, interviews are conducted by admissions staff or alumni volunteers.

You might speak over a phone or video call to the USA, or the representative might be in the UK.

Unlike the UK, the interview will not be a test of your subject knowledge or intellectual prowess. Instead, they often focus on subjective aspects of your application, such as your:

  • Character
  • Personality
  • Academic and extracurricular interests
  • Goals and aspirations
  • Reasons for applying

Preparation

Like any interview, it is important to practise and be prepared. Ask family, friends or teachers to conduct mock interview with you.

You should become familiar with making well-organised and thoughtful answers, but avoid memorising prepared answers or repeating verbatim points you have made in your application.

Questions to cover in your mock interview sessions might include:

  • Why do you want to attend this university?
  • Why do you want to study in the USA?
  • What do you think you will major in? Why?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • What is your strongest/weakest characteristic?
  • What kind of impact do you see yourself making on our campus?
  • What is the most significant contribution you’ve made to your school or community?
  • What do you see yourself doing in the future? In five years? In ten years?
  • What is your favourite book? Who is your favourite author?
  • What extracurricular activities are important to you?
  • Tell us about a current event you're following

You should also prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. These might include:

  • Why would you recommend attending this university?
  • How would you describe campus life at this university?
  • Do you have any advice for me as an applicant?
  • What impact did attending university have on your career?
  • Anything you want to know about the university but haven't found out yet
    • (make sure you have done your research and don't ask something easily answered on the internet)

Additional interview tips

  • If possible, schedule your preferred university's interview last so you build experience with the others
  • Be confident, genuine and enthusiastic
  • Take notes during the conversation
  • Revise your university research
  • Read up on current events related to your academic and extracurricular areas of interest
  • Send a thank you e-mail or note immediately after each interview