Nail your college interview

Got an interview for your course? Find out what to expect, and how to impress.

about 2 mins

Is a college interview different to any other interview? In short, yes. It’s more like a discussion, so that you and the course leader can figure out if it’s the right fit for you.

You want to enjoy your time studying. Part of that is making sure you’ve considered all of the changes ahead. The opportunity to chat about this is an important part of the selection process.

What to expect

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, many face-to-face interviews have been cancelled. But some colleges are arranging interviews over the phone or online. 

Check your emails regularly, including your junk or spam folder. This is the way colleges will let you know about upcoming interviews.

We have some top tips on how to prepare for video and phone interviews which could help. Remember that college staff are working from home and may call you from a mobile or other unknown number. If you're uncomfortable answering calls from unknown numbers, contact the college to discuss a solution.

Interviews vary according to the type of course. Many interviewers will spend some time chatting at the start of a call before asking any questions. This is to help you relax. 

Here are some standard questions you should be ready to answer:

  • What do you know about the subject you are applying to study?
  • Why are you interested in this subject?
  • Why do you want to attend this college in particular?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • Have you ever done any volunteering? 
  • Why is there a gap in your employment/schooling?
  • What makes you more suitable for the course than another applicant with the same grades?
  • What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

Remember, they’re not trying to trick you. They just want to hear that you’re ready to take the next step in your studies and are making the right choice.

What's expected of you

You need to show that you’ve thought about all aspects of college life. You could talk about things like meeting new people, handling your finances or how you'll adapt to the change between school and college.

The interviewer also wants to hear you talk honestly about your choices and achievements. Think about what inspired you to apply in the first place. Let them know what you’re passionate about and show them your enthusiasm. If you didn’t get the exam results you wanted, talk about why that happened and what you learned from that experience.

Bring along evidence to show what you’ve achieved, such as exam results or a portfolio. Anything that says a bit about who you are.

Just ask

If you’ve got questions, don’t be shy. Ask away, and find out as much as you can. It shows that you’re interested.