10 College Interview Questions You Should Prepare For

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There are certain things in life that will define your entire future. One of them is your college interview. But before you start panicking, read this article.

Yes, college interviews can be pretty terrifying, however, they don’t need to be.

The best way to ensure that your interview goes as planned is to go into it fully prepared. That way, you will show an air of confidence and present yourself in the best way possible.

If you really want to impress your interviewers, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. You will need to start preparing for your interview at least one month in advance.
  2. Practice makes perfect!

In this article, you’ll find a list of the most common college interview questions, and how to answer them in the best way possible.

Furthermore, you’ll get to read up on some bonus tips and tricks to make your interview go as smoothly as possible!

Common College Interview Questions

Before you dive into question number one, it’s important that you understand why each one is relevant for your college interview. That’s why, along with each of these questions, you’ll find an explanation as to why they might turn up in your interview.

#1. What Can You Tell Me About Yourself?

What can you tell me about yourself? may seem like the easiest question on the list. However, it’s pretty loaded. Think about it. Someone you just met for the first time is asking you to talk about yourself. You need to highlight all your achievements in a few minutes, which can be incredibly difficult to do in the spur of the moment. Where do you even begin?

First of all, you need to keep in mind that they are asking you this question for two reasons:

  1. They want to learn more about you
  2. They’re waiting to see how you present yourself

Best Way to Answer

This question requires applicants to present themselves in a unique way. You will need to stand out over the other applicants. The best thing to do is to paint a picture of your greatest achievements. For example, it’s not enough to say you’re a hardworking person. If you really want to intrigue your interviewers, explain why you consider yourself a hard worker.

Avoid answering this question by saying things like I consider myself to be loyal, hardworking, focused, etc. These answers are cliches, and the interviewers will probably hear something like that from most applicants. Rather than that, tell them about your aspirations and goals in life.

#2. Why Did You Apply to This College?

This question comes up in all college interviews. It tells the interviewers whether or not you’re serious about attending their college.

Best Way to Answer

For starters, tell them what drew you to the college in the first place. Tell them what major you’re interested in, or what extracurricular activities you’d like to partake in. The interviewers want to be sure that you’ve done your research on the college, and that you’re fully committed to studying there.

Additionally, if you’ve chosen the college because it’s closest to your home, or you’re applying just because you want to be close to your friends, there’s no need to tell the interviewers that. In fact, it’s better if you don’t.

#3. What Are Your Strengths, and What Are Your Weaknesses?

Strengths and weaknesses go hand in hand when it comes to interviewing questions. Moreover, you’ll have to answer this question when you’re applying for a job, so this will be great practice. 

However, in this case, the interviewers are asking about your academic strengths and weaknesses, so don’t tell them you’re a good listener, but you’re a bit high-strung (unless you want to get some confused looks). 

They want to get an idea of what you’re good at and what you feel needs improving. However, it’s not enough to say that you’re good at physics, writing, music, etc. You also need to tell them how you plan on using your strengths and correcting your weaknesses.

Best Way to Answer


For example, let’s say you’re a good singer, and you’re applying to a school with an excellent music program. Tell the interviewers that you’re interested in their college because you’re planning on pursuing a music career and you consider their program to be the best way to upgrade your knowledge. The same goes for other subjects. 

This question shows the interviewers how much thought you put into applying to their college. If you give them a generic answer, they won’t take you seriously, which will ruin your chances of getting in. 


If this question scares you, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Plenty of people have trouble coming up with a good answer. Basically, the interviewers want to know if you can identify the areas in which you could use some improvement on your own.

For example, if you consider science to be a weakness, explain to the interviewers that you’ve already taken steps to improve (i.e. tutors, study groups) but you believe that this college can help you overcome the weakness altogether. 

One thing you should never do is tell them that you have no weaknesses. Doing so will make you come off as arrogant, and that’s not something the interviewers will appreciate.

#4. How Do You Plan to Contribute to This College?

Every college is looking to admit students who can help contribute to the improvement of their school. When answering, be as specific as possible. Don’t just say you can contribute with your good work ethic. This answer won’t give them an insight into what you’re capable of, and they’ll dismiss your application right away.

Best Way to Answer

Keep your answer short and to the point. For example, if you’re interests are directed towards art, then tell them that you plan on contributing to the school with your creativity. Or, if you’re more science-oriented, tell them about some research you’re interested in pursuing. Colleges are always looking to admit students with high aspirations, so use that information to your advantage.

#5. Where Do You See Yourself X Years From Now?

It can be as little as 5 years from now, or as long as 10 years from now, but the interviewers are bound to ask you this question. What’s more, you’re 100% going to hear this question when you go to your first job interview!

Ultimately, this question helps the interviewers understand your interests. Obviously, no one knows exactly where they’ll be in 5 years, let alone 10, but they’re interested in where you would like to be.

Best Way to Answer

When answering this question, you don’t have to just talk about your professional aspirations. You can also add some personal ones as well. For example, you can say that you’re planning on running your own company in ten years, or that you’d like to research ways on how to protect the environment, etc. Your answer will depend on your area of interest.

#6. Who Do You Consider to Be Your Role-Model?

This question will help the interviewers determine your values. For example, if you tell them that you admire a famous pop star, they may not be that impressed.

Best Way to Answer

You don’t have to mention someone famous. If you consider your parents to be great role-models, then tell the interviewers that. But, don’t stop there. Tell them why you admire them. Moreover, if you have any anecdotes to add, go ahead.

#7. What Are Your Hobbies?

Although you can tell a lot about a person by asking about their academic aspirations, you can tell even more by asking about their hobbies. After all, a hobby is something you do in your spare time when you’re done with your day-to-day chores.

Overall, this question is one of the easier ones on the list, so feel free to open up about your interests. You don’t have to think too much about your answer, just answer truthfully.

Also, don’t tell them that you enjoy solving math equations in your spare time, as they’ll probably think you’re not being truthful. Unless, of course, you actually enjoy doing that!

Best Way to Answer

Be truthful, and tell them why you enjoy doing the thing you mentioned. For example, if you enjoy making jewelry, tell them what got you interested in that hobby. Maybe you started out by taking apart your mom’s necklaces, and creating new pieces? Or, maybe you’re interested in pursuing a career in jewelry making? Or, perhaps your hobby is collecting something. For example, maybe you used to collect (something) with your mom, and you continued to do so on your own.

The bottom line is, this question shouldn’t be difficult as there is no wrong answer. 

#8. What’s Your Favorite Book?

By asking about your favorite book, the interviewers are trying to get a better idea of what your general interests are, as well as what kind of literature you like. 

Best Way to Answer

Before your interview, think hard about your favorite books. Why do you like them? Have they inspired you in some way? Did they change your life in some way? It won’t be enough to just list off some books, you will need to explain why they mean so much to you.

The best thing to do is to divide your answer into two categories. First, talk about your favorite books from school, and why you enjoyed reading them. Then, talk about some books you enjoy reading in your spare time. That way, the interviewers will get a better picture of your interests and values. 

You can also discuss your favorite character, and why they had such an impact on you.

#9. What Makes You Stand out over the Other Candidates?

This question, like all the others on the list, will help the interviewers get to know you better. They want to see how creative you are, as well as some of your other traits, such as humility. No one likes a show-off, so don’t go overboard when you answer.

Best Way to Answer

Think about your goals and tell the interviewers what you think makes you a unique candidate. Don’t tell them that you’re the smartest or most athletic person, but rather say that you consider yourself to be unique because of something.

Maybe you have an interesting background, or you have something special to bring to the table. Whatever your answer, remember to keep it humble.

#10. Which Colleges Apart from This One Are You Interested In?

This question is a tricky one. You don’t want the interviewer to think you’re too interested in other schools, but you also cannot say that you’re not looking into other schools. Also, the interviewer may try to trick you and ask you this question in a less direct manner. For example: How is this college different compared to other colleges you’re interested in?

So, what can you say?

Best Way to Answer

While some colleges have banned this question, you never know when it can pop up, so it’s best to be prepared.

When answering, you don’t have to mention any names, but rather keep the information general. Talk about what makes this college your number one pick. The interviewers want to see that you’re interested in their school and that others come in second place.

However, don’t say that you’re not looking into other schools, as the interviewers will most likely think you’re not being honest.

Preparing for Your Interview

This is your time to shine. During your interview, every head will be turned your way. Everyone will be listening to you talk about yourself. Yes, it will be unnerving, but this is your opportunity to get into the college of your dreams.

If you take care to prepare for your interview, you’ll feel less nervous, and you’ll have a far better chance of being admitted. Here are some tips on how to prepare.

Pick Your Wardrobe

The first step to feeling more confident is to look your best. It’s best to pick out an outfit a few weeks in advance. That way, you can browse several stores rather than grab the first thing you find one day before your interview.

Since you need to make the best possible first impression, a suit is always a good choice. If you’re a female, a nice blouse and women’s trousers are a great choice. As for shoes, sneakers are a bit too casual, so try to avoid wearing them. Instead, find some comfortable dress shoes.

Rehearse the Interview Questions Out Loud

Write down the interview questions from this article on a piece of paper, and practice answering them out loud. Even better, find a mirror and practice in front of it. That way you will be able to see your facial expressions and adjust them if needed. Remember, during your interview, everything is important. The interviewers will not only take your answers into consideration but also how you answer the questions. Basically, everything you do during the interview counts, so it’s best to rehearse your actions beforehand. 

Rehearse the Interview Questions with Someone

Once you’ve finished practicing on your own, find a friend that’s willing to practice interview questions with you. Try to make the interview seem as real as you can by dressing in your interview clothes, and setting up a table. If you really want to kick things up a notch, ask more than one person to sit in during your interview.

By doing so, you’ll get a better idea of what the interview will feel like, and you’ll be more relaxed once the time comes for the real thing.

You should practice this as many times as possible before the actual interview.

Prepare for Unexpected Questions

Always keep in mind that no matter how much you prepare yourself, you’re bound to get a surprise question. In that case, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and calm down. Take time to think about your answer, and don’t panic.

Simply give the interviewers a detailed answer. To be honest, this “surprise’’ question is most likely going to be similar to some of the other ones you’ve prepared.

The main goal of a college interview is for the interviewers to get to know the applicants better. Every question is about you, so all you have to do is answer truthfully.

Final Thoughts

Every interview is a stressful experience, especially when your future is in question. The bottom line is to remain as calm as possible during your interview and answer truthfully, in as much detail as possible.

The interviewers are used to candidates being nervous, so it’s ok to take a few breaths between your answers in order to regain your composure. Moreover, it’s a good idea to do so.

Finally, remember that even if they ask you some unexpected questions, if you prepare the questions above, you shouldn’t have any difficulty with the surprise ones. Good luck!

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