College Interview Tips
College interviews are the chance for you to tell us why you’d be a great asset to the course. You can use it as an opportunity to find out more about the course, get a good feel for the college, and ask us any questions you may have.
Likewise, for us, it’s a great way to find out more about you, get an idea of what you want to do in the future, and to make sure the course is right for you.
Our interviews aren’t designed to catch you out - but they are important. This is your opportunity to shine and tell us how great you are. So being under prepared may mean that you run out of things to say and not give the best account of yourself.
So to help you avoid this, here are our top tips for helping you get interview ready.
Don’t be late
The old saying goes - first impressions are lasting impressions. Being late gives a bad first impression. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get to your interview. It is better to be 20 minutes early than 20 minutes late. Plan how you’re going to get there and allow enough time in case of traffic or any delayed trains. That way you’ll have plenty of time to refresh yourself with what you’re going to say, rather than be flustered when you arrive.
“What should I wear?” is a question we get asked a lot. You need to look like you’re taking this seriously so try to dress in something smart, but also something you’re comfortable in. Smart jeans are ok – a vest and board shorts are a no. Another tip: If you have chosen a course that will require you to dress smartly, such as Business or Travel and Tourism, then you should make the effort to wear a shirt and smart trousers / skirt.
Remember to bring the important documents
We will have sent you a letter to let you know what important documents you need to bring. So make sure you double check you have these with you for your interview. If you’re studying an Art-based subject then we may have asked you to bring a portfolio of your work too. Forgetting these things will make you seem a bit unorganised.
Smile and be friendly
Even if you’re feeling a little nervous before your interview, smiling and being friendly will help to calm your nerves. Shake hands and make eye contact with your tutor when you meet them and things will work out just fine from then onwards.
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself
We’re inviting you in for an interview to find more about you. Don’t be afraid to tell us why you love the subject you’ve chosen, where you’re hoping it will take you in the future, why you’re looking forward to studying with us, and what interests and hobbies you have.
We want to meet the real you and we’ll probably be able to tell if you aren’t being genuine. You don’t have to make up an elaborate reason about why you want to study your chosen subject or make up an unusual hobby to try and impress us. If you enjoyed the subject at school, then tell us. If you like to bake cakes at the weekend, then we’d love to hear about it. And if you have any questions – make sure you ask us!
Above all, try not to stress about the interview. The process isn't designed to catch you out. We’re excited to meet you and we really want to offer you a place on the course. We’ll be asking you questions about you, and you’re the best person to answer them - so this is going to be easy!
Good luck with your interview, we know you’ll be fine. But if you do need a little more help or advice before your appointment, then feel free to contact our admissions team who will be happy to help:
We may or may not be able to give you a few hints to what tutors may ask at your interview. We can’t give you too many clues, but why not prepare a few answers to questions like:
Why would you like to study here?
Show us that you’ve given some thought as to why you've applied. Perhaps you really enjoyed the Year 10 Taster Day or maybe you thought the facilities were great during our Open Evening, whatever it is, include this in your answer.
What are your career ambitions?
If you have an idea about what you’d like to do in the future then that’s great. But don’t worry if you don’t know yet. You won’t be the only one. So it’s fine to be honest and say you’re not sure – but you could include something like: “I’m not sure at the moment, but I see this course as a great stepping stone to helping me decide what I want to do next”.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a question that you may come across quite a lot in the next few years. You may be asked during your college interviews, most likely at university interviews, and most definitely during job interviews. You might be able to come up with a few strengths quite easily – hardworking, reliable, and so on. But what do you say when it comes to weaknesses? You don’t want to list all the things you’re bad at, but you could mention a few things that you would like to improve. For example, you may tend to go a little off topic when having a group discussion, but this is something you want to improve on.
Do you have any questions?
If you Google ‘interview tips’ almost all of the results will advise you to ask a question at the end of the interview. As we said in our opening line, use this as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. This could be to find out what work experience opportunities are available, whether you will get to go on any course related trips during the year, or it could be about enrichment activities.