Many universities and colleges (particularly popular ones, running competitive courses) want to meet you and find out whether you'd cope with the demands of your chosen course before making you an offer. More and more are calling potential students to interview before making a conditional or unconditional offer of a place.
Policies vary greatly and some universities interview only selected or borderline applicants and some do not interview at all. If you are invited to interview, there are lots of things you can do before, during and after interviews to get the most from the experience.
If you have been offered an interview through Track, take a look at the types of offer page to see what you need to do next.
There's lots you can do to prepare for the big day - from having a mock interview to arming yourself with information about the university and the course.
The when's and where's: Make sure you know where you need to be and when, and make any necessary travel and accommodation arrangements in advance. Visit the universitiy's or college's website for maps and directions and make sure you know exactly where on campus you need to be. If you need more information get in touch with the university or college.
Knowledge is power: Be sure to read the prospectus and look on the university's or college's website - the more you know about it and the course you have applied for, the keener you'll seem. Make a list of questions you'd like to ask, perhaps the kind of things the prospectus doesn't tell you.
Know your application: Make sure you're familiar with what you put in your application - this is all your interviewer knows about you so far so he or she will probably ask you about some of the things you've mentioned.
Be familiar with 'hot topics' in your subject area: You may well be asked about them, and don't forget to read the newspapers too. Interviewers commonly ask for your views on the issues of the day.
Practice makes perfect: A mock interview might be a good idea. Why did you choose this course; what do you enjoy most on the course you are currently studying and why did you choose this university are typical things you might be asked. Ask a teacher or careers adviser to run through a mock interview with you.
Get a good night's sleep: You won't perform your best without one!
Interviews are always nerve-wracking as you don't know what you're going to be asked. Just be yourself, be enthusiastic and be sure to 'sell' what you have to offer as a student on your chosen course.
Interviewers are looking for students who show an interest, who can think independently and consider new ideas.
They are looking for students who will thrive well on their course and enjoy a varied academic life alongside their outside interests.
Dress appropriately: Although you probably won't need to wear a suit to interview, show your interviewer you are taking things seriously by dressing smartly (smart trousers and a shirt or blouse will do the trick).
Arrive in good time: Take any contact numbers just in case the worst happens and you get delayed on the way to your interview.
Body language: Be aware of your body language in the interview room - don't slouch or yawn; sit up and look alert. Make sure you are giving off all the right signals.
Stumped?: If you don't understand a question ask for it to be repeated or rephrased. Make good guesses or relate your answer to something you do know something about.
Expect the unexpected: While interviewers aren't trying to trick you, some will want to see how you react under pressure. A surprise test or exercise isn't unheard of so stay calm and think clearly.
Ask questions: While your interviewer needs to find out about you by asking lots of questions, you'll come across as enthusiastic if you ask appropriate questions too. Use the interview as a chance to find out answers to your questions that weren't answered on the website or in the prospectus.
An interview is as much a chance for you to check out a university or college, as it is for them to check you out so take some time to reflect and improve.
Make notes: While the questions and your answers are still fresh in your mind, make some notes. If you're going to other interviews similar questions may crop up and it will be useful to compare responses.
Self-appraise: Think about what went well and what you can improve on. Start thinking about what you felt comfortable answering and what left you struggling. Come up with some answers that you are confident in, should similar topics crop up next time.
Sit back and wait: Once we've heard from the university or college, we'll let you know in Track if you were successful or not. If you receive an offer it may be conditional on you receiving certain grades.
Nobody likes interviews, but with a bit of preparation, 'selling yourself' and showing knowledge and enthusiasm in your answers will become second nature, landing you a place on the higher education course that's right for you.
UCAS Interview Questions
There is no standard format or structure to university interviews:
some are group based, others individual; some are formal while others are more relaxed and quite informal.
- Questions asked include :
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why do you want to do this course ? or What is it about this subject that interests you ?
- Why do you want to study at this institution ? or Why do you want to come here ?
- Why should we offer you a place ?
- What do you do in your spare time ? or What are your extra curricular interests ?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses ?
- What skills / qualities do you have that will allow you to succeed in a higher education environment ?
- What are your special areas of interest ( in your studies ) ?
- What skills have you gained from your work placements / jobs ? How do these relate to your studies ?
- What has your current course of study taught you ?
- How will Higher Education help your development ?
- Where do you see yourself in 5-7yrs time ?
- Some institutions expect the students to ask them questions !
- Be prepared for course / subject specific questions eg
Recent developments in the NHS/ National Curriculum / Science etc…
Your views on ….
Some universities have conducted conversations in the language students apply to study.
Certain institutions have asked students to read something and then questioned them about it.
- Other examples of questions relate to the career aspirations of students eg
Why do you want to be a teacher ?
What do you need to be a good doctor ?
What skills do you need to acquire to help you become a ….?
Some universities have also put students into groups, set them a task and observe interaction etc.. and carried out group interviews.