Visits & Interviews

Questions you should consider asking when you’re visiting a college or meeting with a college representative visiting your high school:

  1. How many of the top faculty teach undergraduates?
  2. How many of the top faculty teach freshmen?
  3. How much of the teaching load is carried by graduate assistants?
  4. Is tutoring available from faculty?  Are faculty generally available for consultation and help?
  5. How large are classes for freshmen?
  6. How large are classes once I get into my major?
  7. Is my professor likely to know me by name?
  8. Are there opportunities for independent study?  For self-designed majors?
  9. Are many of the faculty involved in research? If so, are students involved in these research projects?
  10. What is the job placement record among students in my major interest?
  11. What is the placement record in graduate school?
  12. What sort of honors programs are available?
  13. How many students are involved in off-campus or foreign study? Are these programs generally successful?
  14. How difficult is it to transfer from one major to another? How often is it done?
  15. What are the dorms like? (air conditioned? suites? double rooms? private bath?) How much per year does housing cost? Do most students live in dorms or off-campus? How far away are residence halls from classrooms, labs, the library, food?
  16. How important a role do fraternities and sororities play on the life of the students?
  17. Is housing guaranteed for full-time students?  What alternatives are available?
  18. What social activities are available outside of the fraternity system?
  19. Is there a student activities fee?  What does it cover?
  20. Outside of room, board, tuition, and books, what routine expenses can I expect?
  21. Are varsity athletic events, such as football and basketball games, available to the general student body?  At what cost?
  22. What athletic opportunities will be open to me?  How many of the students take part in athletics?
  23. What processes do I enter to apply for financial aid?
  24. What is the surrounding community like?  What relationship exists between the townspeople and the college?
  25. Do large numbers of students leave campus on the weekends? Where do they go?
  26. How would you describe the atmosphere/personality of the campus?
  27. Is there an advisory system set up?  Who does it?
  28. (If they have one) is the Honor System effective?  Is it a single sanction system?  Is it supported by the students?
  29. How difficult is it to become involved in extracurricular activities such as publications, theater, music, special interest clubs, etc.?  How major a commitment do they involve?
  30. When considering this college in comparison to other similar schools, what unique features should I consider
  31. What kind of attrition rate is seen among freshmen?
  32. Are students happy?  Does the school have a reputation as a party school, an academic grind, a widespread, diverse community, a close, caring society?
  33. Do you appeal to a particular type of student?  Is there a sameness to be seen in your student body?
  34. What advice would you give me to help me in making my college choice?
  35. What is the school’s policy on student use of drugs and alcohol?  What type of problems do you have now?
  36. What are the regular library hours?
  37. Are special services such as word processors, individual study carrels, access to special collection, etc., available to students?
  38. Are laboratory facilities accessible to undergraduates?
  39. What are the crime statistics on campus? Near campus?

Questions you might be asked in a college Interview:

To prepare for your interview, read the literature sent to you by the college.  Review your notes from your campus visit.  Be aware of course offerings, whether there is a major in your field, etc.  Arrive early (15 minutes) for the interview and try to relax.

You will be asked if you have any questions.  Have some questions prepared in advance.  It won’t hurt to have them written out.  Interviewers will be favorably impressed with that sort of preparation.  It also gives you a chance to control the direction of the interview, to obtain some useful answers, and to learn more about your interviewer.

Before entering the interview, you should have in mind some objectives regarding the interview and your means for accomplishing these objectives.  Be yourself.  Be prepared.  Do not come on with a self-centered sales job.  You can’t talk your way into college.  You can talk your way out.


Some Typically Asked Questions:

  1. Why are you considering this college?
  2. How did you come to include us among your choices?
  3. What makes you think this college and you are right for each other?
  4. Where else are you applying and why?
  5. Which is your first choice?   Why?
  6. What do you hope to major in?  Why?
  7. What are your plans for the future?  What do you expect to be doing ten years from now?
  8. What have you liked or disliked about your high school?
  9. If you were the principal of your school, what would you change?
  10. What would you like to tell us about yourself?
  11. What newspapers and magazines do you read?  How often?
  12. What books (not required by your courses) have you read recently?
  13. What television shows do you watch?
  14. Tell us about your family.
  15. How do you spend a typical afternoon after school?  Evening? Weekend?
  16. How do you spend your vacations?
  17. What extracurricular activities have you found most satisfying?
  18. What are your strengths?  Weaknesses?
  19. Do you have any heroes, contemporary or historical?
  20. How would your best friend describe you?
  21. If you could talk with any one living person, who would it be and why?
  22. What events have been crucial in your life?
  23. How do you feel about: The nuclear freeze; Nuclear power; The use of drugs and alcohol;  Advertising; Gun control, the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, etc.
  24. What is the most significant contribution you have made to your school or community?
  25. What is the most important thing you have learned in high school?
  26. What historical event do you feel has had the most impact on the 20th century?
  27. Tell us about your innermost fears.
  28. What do you want to get out of your college experience?

Don’t try to impress an interviewer by pretending you’ve read books still sitting untouched on your shelf. Similarly, don’t profess to be addicted to The New York Times if you’re not prepared to discuss the philosophical differences between Anthony Lewis and William Safire.

If science fiction is your favorite escape, admit it.  (But if shoddy romance novels are your idea of serious literature, you may want to temper your response.)  Reading is imperative to success in college; you should get used to it in high school.

If you are asked to discuss your favorite films and television shows, don’t fake it.  If only half the people who claim to watch The MacNeil/Lehrer Report actually even turned it on, its audience Nielsen ratings would match those of Dallas.  Admission officers don’t award extra points to students who say they love the films of Ingmar Bergman, nor do they subtract points for those who admit to crying during E.T.  Be yourself!

Don’t forget to send a prompt Thank You note to the person who gave the interview.  Be brief, be personal, be positive and enthusiastic