Acing your college admissions interview can give you an edge in being accepted to the college of your choice. However, doing poorly during your college interview can hurt your chances of acceptance. Let’s review the major Do’s and Don’ts for your most successful college interview.

College Interview DO’s

Maximize your chances of acceptance with these tips for a great college interview.

    • DO arrive early. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to allow time to find the location of the interview without being late.
    • DO look your best. You only have one chance to make a great first impression. A good rule of thumb is to dress in business casual attire (khakis or dress pants/skirt and a button up shirt/blouse).
    • DO research the school. Review the areas of study, campus activities and other details about the school so you’re informed and prepared for your interview.
    • DO prepare a list of questions about the school to ask your interviewer. Your questions should avoid information easily accessible on the website.
    • DO prepare for and practice your answers to common questions asked in college interviews. Even better, find a friend or teacher who can do mock interviews with you.
    • DO be succinct and clear with your answers. This is where practice and preparation can help you refine your answers and help you avoid rambling.
    • DO be honest and be yourself… your BEST self. This is a chance to show your interviewer the qualities that make you a great fit for the school and vise versa.
    • DO pay sincere attention to your interviewer. Remember and use their name (even if you have to write it down), use direct eye contact, shake their hand, be courteous and polite throughout the interview.
    • DO have a list of reasons why you want to attend that particular school. It’s important to make this list personal and incorporate your interests, talents and achievements. Eliminate anything superficial from your list, such as the school’s prestige, location or amenities of the campus.
    • DO ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can follow up with a thank you note afterward.

College Interview DON’Ts

Here are the things you want to avoid during your college interview.

    • DON’T chew gum or bring food in with you.
    • DON’T bring your cell phone. Either leave it in the car or completely power it off and put it away before you arrive at the interview location.
    • DON’T use coarse or foul language, swear words or excessive slang.
    • DON’T watch the clock/your watch. This gives the impression that you’re bored, disinterested or in a hurry to leave.
    • DON’T bring your parents or anyone else to the interview with you. Doing so implies a lack of confidence and maturity to the interviewer.

With these tips in hand, you’ll be ready to impress your college admissions interviewer. These same tips also work great when practicing for other types of college interviews, such as scholarship and work study interviews.