An often ignored skill when applying for college places, jobs too for that matter, is interview technique. Your resumé or CV may get you an interview, but it will be your interview skills that will get you over the line.
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Make a good first impression
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That means that nailing it is vitally important. Make sure that you are dressed in an appropriate fashion, turning up in ripped jeans and sneakers is not going to impress anyone. You may be able to get away with smart casual, but if you really want to nail that first impression then dress in a way that reflects the culture on campus. This will show your interviewer that you are taking it seriously as is shown in this slideshow of tips from Bryant & Stratton College. When a prestigious college like Bryant & Stratton College gives you that hint, it makes sense to take notice. If the campus culture is currently aimed at relaxed or formal then you should make sure that you follow that culture.
When you first meet the person conducting the interview it is important to greet them in a polite and courteous manner. Make eye contact, shake their hand and say hello. This will show that you are not intimidated by being at the college, but you are also respectful and intend to take the college seriously.
Do your research
Turning up at your college interview with no idea about the school you are applying to, or worse not being aware of what is on your resumé, is a big red flag to interviewers. They will instantly know that you have not taken your interview as seriously as you should have. Make sure that you are fully aware of everything that you will need to answer any questions successfully. If there are any gaps in your resumé then be open and honest but be prepared to explain them in a positive way. If you took a gap year to travel then talk about the experiences as personal growth. If you decided to take another course to better prepare you for the college experience then talk about that. This is especially important in the tech world, where technology is constantly moving, and you will need to show that you are up to date with the latest news.
Most importantly, brush up on as much about the school as you can. You will almost certainly be asked why you want to go to that college. Make sure that you have a number of reasons, that are geared towards the education and extracurricular activities that are on offer. As long as you are prepared then you will be able to impress your interviewer with your different reasons for wanting to attend. It also shows that you are willing to undertake research to achieve your goals which is an important part of college life.
Be clear and straight to the point
One of the most important aspects of improving your interview technique is communication skills. Rambling on about information that has nothing to do with the question you were asked is a surefire way to put your interviewer off. Make sure that you are clear and concise when answering questions. Give all of the relevant information in as few words as possible. This will show the interviewer that you have the ability to get your point across without resorting to using filibuster tactics. Being able to cut through the bluster and get right to the point is an important skill when writing college essays, this will instantly put you in good stead.
While you do not want to get drawn into rambling, you should also not be afraid of answering a question in a longer form when it is required. Some answers will require some background information to back them up sufficiently. This will not just show that you are fully prepared for your interview, it will also show that you are able to back up your points with solid evidence. This is another vital skill for writing college essays.
It is also important to have personal examples when explaining certain things to your interviewer. If you can relate your strengths and weaknesses to a specific personal experience it will show both how you are able to use your strengths to your advantage, but also how you are able to circumvent the problems that your weaknesses might throw in your way. When it comes to technology the ability to triumph when hitting a brick wall is a vital skill, if you can show that to your interviewer then you will be at a distinct advantage. As long as you are confident and follow these tips then you should breeze through your tech college interview with no trouble at all.