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Oakes's Corner
 

Your Campus Interview

By Oakes Hunnewell, Ed.M., CEP

Though not all colleges and universities will grant interviews, many of the smaller ones will.  Typically, liberal arts institutions will offer, suggest or even require an interview.  Many of the larger, more selective universities will also grant interviews through an alumni representative in the candidate’s region.

If the university grants an interview and if the candidate is able to make the time and afford the trip, he or she should request one.  According to Daniel de Vise of College, Inc., “ a rising share of colleges, 21 percent as of 2008, put considerable importance on the applicant's "demonstrated interest" in the school: actions taken by the applicant that show he or she is relatively likely to attend if admitted. This matters because students are applying to more and more colleges, and the "yield" of admitted students who attend is gently declining. The interview, perhaps more than any other single factor, demonstrates an applicant's interest.”

Aside from the strategic benefits of the interview, students have an opportunity to determine which institutions are a good match for them based on what they are looking for and would like to get accomplished.  An informed applicant is much more likely to thrive and find success.  The possibility of an eventual transfer is diminished.
So, what makes for a positive interview?  How does a student know that he or she has made a good impression?  The interview is an opportunity for prospective students to show a side that is not necessarily reflected in the application. It is a chance for students to tell their story, to piece things together, to make sense of their accomplishments, to show a direction, one that the university can understand and feel like they can be of assistance. At the same time, this being a consumer society, it is important that students take full advantage of the access that is presented to them.  Applicants should view the interview as “doing their homework”.   They should ask questions.  The interview is a two way street. By asking questions, students are further demonstrating their genuine interest.   
The following are some general themes that should be covered in the interview-

Your interviewer may ask you about . . .
           
1. Scholastic Standing

  • Grades, rank in class, entrance exam scores.  It is a good idea to memorize these statistics

2. Course Work

  • What is your favorite subject? Why?
  • What was your favorite class?  Why?

3. Extracurricular Activities or Work Experience

  • Special interests, sports and all non-academic activities may be discussed.

4. The “Personal” You

  • Do not let these questions surprise you.  The interviewer is interested in finding out as much as possible about you.
  • Be frank about your weak points as well as your strong ones.  Think of two strengths and two weaknesses

Answer all questions completely and honestly.  This interviewer will know if you are bluffing or trying to impress.

You Should Be Ready To Talk About . . .

1. Your Fields of Interest

  • How do you like to spend your time when you are not in school?  Discuss your hobbies and pastimes.

2. Reason for Interest in this School

  • Let your interviewer know that you are applying for specific reasons.
  • Know what the school has to offer and how you might fit in.

3. Your Plans and Objectives

  • What do you want out of a college education?
  • What would you like to be doing 20 years from now?  You can be general.  You’re not expected to really know.
  • Do you plan to go on to graduate studies?

4. Your Values and Ideals

  • What things in life are important to you?   

Remember that it is important to ask questions too!  The questions you ask tell the interviewer as much as your answers to his questions. 

School of the Month

Winter Term, Lenk, Switzerland - www.hohliebi.ch/winterterm/

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The Winter Term is a twelve week program for approximately thirty-five seventh and eighth grade boys and girls. Founded in 1989 and housed in Chalet Hohliebi above the village of Lenk in the Bernese Oberland, The Winter Term provides an opportunity for meaningful academic and character development in a unique environment.

Students who participate in The Winter Term are challenged academically. The program provides a rigorous curriculum. Students returning to their schools in the United States often feel like they have accomplished more than their peers. In addition, when speaking to some alumni, they unanimously say that The Winter Term has challenged them in areas outside of the classroom that their schools back in the United States could never do. The rich curriculum stretches the students to reach out of their comfort zone and encourages them to explore disciplines such as drama, literature and winter sports.

This is the type of experience that students will always remember. Middle school is often a time that is forgotten. The Winter Term can change that. For more information, you may contact Hunnewell Education Group at 781-697-7075 or you may also contact the school directly at +41 33 733 1223.