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What to do for a Successful Interview

By a Student, Julia Roop
Interviews seem to become more commonplace in every facet of life as one ages. From job interviews, to college interviews, these meetings not only hold the magnitude of being powerful dialogues, but also making a strong, positive first impressions if done right. Soon after submitting the Common App and my separate Georgetown application I was contacted by various colleges via alumni, admission liaisons, and admissions officers requesting an interview as soon as possible.

The majority of interview requests I received were in large part from the Ivy League schools I had applied to, Cornell, UPenn, and Harvard, all seeking to meet with me usually after 6pm on a school night. I also was required to perform the perfunctory Georgetown interview, a requirement of their application. My first interview was with UPenn, and I felt quite anxious before it as I did not have previous experience with the collegiate interview process. I googled 'common questions asked by college interviewers' the night prior and had drawn up answers ranging from 'What will you study in school?' to 'If you were any kitchen appliance what would you be and why?'. The diversity of possible questions offered by the Internet daunted me, but the best advice I received and can impart is to consult friends and peers who had already completed interviews, or even students who had graduated a year or two prior.

Another important tidbit I learned was that its always better to dress in a professional manner, i.e. not sweats and a baseball cap, because though this may be comfortable and show a personal style, many different comments online and common sense led me to believe this could possibly show a lack of interest or even respect. The majority of my interviews took place in local eateries or coffee shops, only my Harvard interview was at my interviewer's home, and I aimed to look presentable yet not stuffy at each. More often than not my weekday interviewers were coming from work and had either a sport coat or suit on, so my blazer and skirt were not out of place, and for the one Saturday morning interview I had, a nice cardigan and khakis seemed to fit right in with my interviewer's vest and button up. Though many interviews may take place in informal locations, keep in mind you should present yourself as if you were going to the admissions office itself.

In addition you can NEVER go wrong with bringing a copy of your resume and any substantial article written by or about you, i.e. a newspaper article delineating a charity you helped create or an article you wrote for your school paper. This not only gives the interviewer something to glance at during the interview but as he is preparing his review of you at home, it is always nice to leave them with a little reminder of how awesome you are. As was the case in my UPenn, Harvard, and Georgetown interviews, the interviewer had no knowledge of anything regarding my work experience, standardized test scores, or extra curriculars and the resume served as a helpful reference to initiate the conversation and manipulate the questions asked in my favor, as the interviewer was not asking me to describe myself as a kitchen electronic, but rather to further elaborate about volunteer opportunities or jobs. By leaving your interviewer not only with a fresh face and shining personality, but the paper embodiment of your accomplishments you are ensuring a stronger review.

Finally, I guarantee there will be no harm to your review by sending a nice 'thank you' letter promptly after the interview. Whether its via paper mail or email, a well-written and appreciative 'thank you' always serves to reinforce how courteous and professional you are, just be sure its within 1-3 days after the interview as many interviewers have a deadline to meet and pushing it past this time means this extra courtesy may not help to put a smile on their faces as they put a face and personality to one of thousands of applications read by exhausted admissions officers in the office of the college of your dreams.

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