How to prepare for interviews

Before you’re given an offer from a university, you may be asked to take part in an interview.

Although this is less common practice than it used to be, many universities will still want to speak to you and put questions to you to assess your suitability for the course.

The admissions section of your chosen university’s prospectus or website should tell you if an interview is likely.

Interviews can be conducted in person at the institution itself, or even over a video chat service such as Skype.

As an interview could be the difference between attending the university of your dreams or settling for second choice, it’s important to get it right.

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Here are some tips for how you should prepare for a university interview.

Take it seriously

Whether your interview is described as ‘formal’ or ‘informal’, you should always take it seriously. An informal interview might not be as structured or as rigid as formal interview, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important.

Predict their questions

The interviewer is going to want to know more about you and why you want to attend their course. They may ask you to expand on aspects of your application and personal statement. Review these documents and remind yourself of what you said, so you can predict what they might ask.

Do some more research

Depending on your chosen course, you might be asked to give your views on the subject area. It is a good idea to do some research on the latest news and developments in the subject before the interview.

Practice

You could ask a teacher, parent or friend to do a mock interview with you focusing on why you chose the course. This will help you prepare your responses and ease your nerves.

Prepare questions of your own

This is your chance to find out more about the course and the university, so write down some questions of your own. This will also demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm to the admissions tutors.

Dress smartly and arrive early

You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but dressing smartly will show respect and demonstrate that you are taking the interview seriously. You should also plan your journey ahead and leave in plenty of time so you get there early. Make sure you make a note of their phone number so you can let them know if you are going to be late.

More information and resources

UCAS has a useful resource on preparing for undergraduate interviews, including a video how-to guide.

Website Studential also has several pages of resources, including FAQs, tips and sample questions as well as subject-specific guides.

Which? University and The Complete University Guide also have useful interview preparation advice.

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