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How to prepare for a university interview

A university interview is designed to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for your chosen course. You will be judged on your abilities and passions, as well as how you come across. Therefore, it is important to prepare for a university interview, arrive well-presented and be ready to talk about yourself and your hopes for the future.

prepare for a university interview

Not all universities interview their applicants, this heavily depends on the institution you would like to attend and the type of course you have chosen. You will know whether you have been invited to a university interview via UCAS Track or by post or email. This is an important stage of your university application process, be sure to regularly check the progress of your applications so you don’t miss anything! 

Courses most likely to interview include professional training degrees such as medicine, education, social work etc. Talent based degrees such as creative or performing arts subjects are also likely to host interviews or auditions. In these circumstances, you may have to create a portfolio or prepare a performance piece. Ensure you know what you need to bring to the table and allow yourself time beforehand to put this together. Those least likely to interview are humanities subjects. As an exception, Oxford and Cambridge interview everyone applying to their university courses and this in an important part of their application process.

University interview prep

It is crucial to prepare for your university interview to ensure you are feeling confident and ready. There are a couple of things you can do beforehand to prepare…

  • Do your research – Be sure to understand what the course entails, the university’s culture and who will be interviewing you.
  • Read your application – You are likely to be asked questions about topics you referred to in your application. Read back over your personal statement beforehand to make sure you know what the interviewer is talking about.
  • Prepare answers – Most of the time, similar sets of questions will be asked so prepare answers in advance to any potential questions that may come up. Popular ones include; Why do you want to take this course? Why do you want to attend this university? What are you passionate about? What are your interests outside of study?
  • Create questions of your own – A university interview should be two-sided. Prepare some questions of your own to demonstrate interest and enthusiasm.
  • Practise! – Ask a friend or family member to run through a mock interview with you to practise your answers and grow your confidence.

On the day

The day has finally come around and you are hopefully feeling confident and prepared. A university interview can be daunting but it is important go in with an open mind and remember that you can only do your best.

It is advisable to plan your journey in advance and ensure you know exactly where you need to be and when in order to reduce stress on the day. Arriving early allows you to get your bearings, find your interview location and have a minute to breathe before going in.

First impressions are important, you will want to look presentable and dress fairly smart. When entering the room, be formal and polite in your approach and maintain good manners throughout. You will be judged on your body language so sit up straight, keep eye contact and try not to fidget too much as this can give the impression that you are nervous.

TOP TIP: Bring a notepad and pen to write down any important information and reflect on how it went afterwards.

Finally, just relax and be yourself. You have been invited to the university interview based on the quality of your application, you have earned it. Therefore, don’t force anything. All you can do is be well prepared and give confident, honest answers. Good luck!

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