Not every university will interview its applicants, but many do. It’s natural to be nervous before an interview, but with our top tips, hopefully the process won’t be too stressful.
1 – Research and prepare
This is very important, the more preparation you do, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel on the day. Do some background reading on the university and course that you are applying to, either on the university’s website or in their prospectus. You want to come across as informed and passionate about the subject area and what the course is going to teach you. What appeals to you about this specific course? Are their particular modules or academics that interest you?
Re-read your personal statement and make sure you are prepared to answer any questions about it. Stay up-to-date with current developments and events in the areas you want to study so you can include them in your answers if needed. Try and anticipate any obvious questions that might come up from your statement and think about your answers.
Prepare your answers in certain areas, some obvious questions you might be asked include, what do you like about this course? why do you want to study here? What do you want to get out of the course? It’s also good to think about what you can offer the university, what can you contribute? what are your future plans? what are your achievements and experiences?
Remember to practice, practice, practice, the more you practice the more confident you will feel.
2 – What to wear
At Kent we recommend smart casual clothing, but remember you will not be penalised for being ‘too smart’. Be careful not to appear scruffy as that will give the impression that you are not taking the interview seriously. Make sure you feel comfortable in what you are wearing and you won’t be too hot/cold on the day.
3 – What to take
Make sure you take your itinerary, so you know where you are going, who to ask for when you arrive and what your travel arrangements are. Also remember to take copies of any submitted work, your UCAS form and a contact number in case you are running late for any reason. You will be advised if you need to bring any specific examples of work when invited to interview.
4 – On the day
Try and get a good night’s sleep, it’s easier said than done of course but try not to worry. Plan your day to arrive early so you have more time to play with. You’ll feel more relaxed if you can familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Contact the university if you’re running late or any unforeseen circumstances arise, you can always re-arrange if needs be.
5 – Making a good impression
It’s important to make a good impression when being interviewed. Smile when you are introduced. Try to make eye-contact with the interviewer and maintain an ‘open’ body language with arms and legs uncrossed. It is fine to gesture with your hands when you are being interviewed, but if you’re not sure what to do with them, clasp them in your lap.
Finally if you’re really nervous, try deep breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth, repeat four times and relax.
Good luck J
This is a guest post by the digital communications officer at the University of Kent