Fairview High School > Practice for Your College Interview

Fairview High School

Practice for Your College Interview

Practice your interview technique in a role-play with a counselor, close friend, older sibling or parent, then at colleges that are far down on your list.

Review the following tips and protocols before you begin practicing!

Parents typically do not attend the college interview! ​A parent who accompanies a student to the college should wait elsewhere and allow the student to arrive at the interview venue independently. If parents have questions, a better time to ask would be during the Q&A of a campus information session or tour, or admissions office staff may be approached or contacted at a different time.


Before the Interview

  1. It is not uncommon to be nervous, but remember that most interviewers are welcoming and want to get to know you.
  2. Make sure you know how to get to your appointment location and where to park.
  3. Arrive early enough to give yourself time to check-in and compose yourself.
  4. Silence your cell phone!

During the Interview

  1. When the interviewer arrives, stand up, remember to make direct eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Say something like: “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Smith. Thanks for taking the time to meet me.”
  2. Practice a solid handshake – not too mushy and not too crushing.
  3. If you’re at a coffee shop, feel free to order something to drink, but avoid caffeine if you’re nervous. Don’t order something to eat, unless your interviewer is doing so and invites you to do the same. You are not expected to purchase anything for your interviewer.
  4. Wait for the cue from the interviewer as to whether s/he will begin or if you will be expected to start.
  5. Make sure to have good eye contact throughout the interview. Give your undivided attention and smile!
  6. Avoid slang and “you know,” “um,” and “like.” The mock interview is great for catching these habits!
  7. Sit up straight and try not to fidget.
  8. Be yourself. Let your true interests and passion shine through. Let your sense of humor show but avoid sarcasm.
  9. Be honest if you do not know the answer to a question and do not be afraid to ask for clarification.
  10. You do not have to do all the talking, but be prepared to talk more than you listen.
  11. Demonstrate sincere interest in the college.

At the end of the Interview

  1. The interviewer will signal when the interview is over. You should not initiate the end of the interview.
  2. When you stand up, shake hands and thank the interviewer by name.
  3. Express that you learned valuable information and are appreciative.
  4. Ask for the interviewer’s business card and attach it to your information packet. You’ll need his/her contact information so that you can send a thank you note.


  1. Hold mock interviews so that you can improve how you communicate. CCC Volunteers can help you with mock interviews.
  2. Rehearse answering tough questions that might come up. See College Interviews and scroll to PREPARE section to see questions you may be asked.
  3. Do not memorize potential answers on a word-for-word basis; do plan what you wish to convey so that you are prepared, but sound natural, not rehearsed and robotic.