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5 tips how to prepare for a university interview
5 tips how to prepare for a university interview
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5 tips how to prepare for a university interview

Although it is not as complicated as rocket science, the preparation for a university interview upon admission is often rated as a process of highest difficulty. And the reason is quite simple; most interviews do turn out to be an oral form of examination based primarily on the knowledge you have about, you know – yourself. But without further ado, let’s find out more!

Checking back with your admission documents

Most importantly, make sure to spend a good portion of time on both your curriculum vitae and motivation letter. As in most cases, especially for Masters applications – these two documents are an absolute must which university interviewers love to base their questions on.

Keep in mind that simply going over what you have already written during the whole interview is the worst possible strategy. Instead, focus on specific points that you might have to explain more about, especially your acquired job competency, previous study experiences and above all, reasons for choosing your specific course and university.

Preparing some online research

One of the best things about university interviews is, that, in general, there is tons of valuable information on the web – and you have time on your side! For example, assume that you are currently preparing for you interview at the Northumbria University. Well then, did you know that there is a dedicated, online article with hints and tips on the official website?

Even more, there is nothing better than scouting for more about your chosen programme and university as well. Not just basic information, but rather more specifics like the course list – core and elective modules, credits system, dissertation research opportunities, etc. Have you also heard about virtual open days? Radboud University Nijmegen hosts such an event allowing students to learn more about their upcoming study which, is something quite common for Dutch universities.

Practising cases and scenarios

Similarly to the works of an actor, is there a reason not to try and practise for your upcoming interview stage? Together with a group of helping friends, you can prepare different scenarios – either long 15-30 minutes or more than an hour, with one or up to three interviewers. Additionally, you can also set up different stages of a typical university interview involving examples of:

Personal questions:

  • What was your Bachelor experience like?
  • Which study areas did you enjoy the most?
  • Tell us more about a practical challenge that you encountered at your job.

Choice-based questions:

  • What factors led to your motivation for applying at this university?
  • Why do you believe you are a suitable candidate?
  • Which aspects of the course attract you the most?

Subject-based questions:

  • Which recent breakthrough/development has interested you the most in the area?
  • Tell us more about your previous research project in the field of [chosen topic].
  • Do you believe that the works of [notable person] are still valid and up to date?

Questions leading to debates:

  • From your point of view, do you agree that we are yet to discover more about black holes with the help of the theories developed by Stephen Hawking?
  • What’s next – commercial space exploration or life on Mars?
  • Are you positive about the current state of the global economy? Why?

And there you have it, a good starting point for some decent practice. However, keep in mind that it is simply impossible to fully prepare for any interview, or so to say – gain the possibility to read the interviewer like a book. Prepare for any question that you might experience difficulty in answering and take your time when planning the best possible choice of words. Finally, attempt to give thorough answers with a matter of 4-5 sentences without going deep into unwanted details.

Considering the formalities

The art of the interview is, as you can see, one involving many unique aspects. And depending on the occasion and even location, there are certain formalities that definitely account for bonus points when it comes to the final outcome. Would you afford being late for your interview? Is it acceptable to show up dressed as you are about to hit the gym next? Are handshakes even still a thing?

Indeed, you can start with planning your transportation and making sure that you can arrive at least 10-15 minutes earlier. This way, if it turns out that you need more time for finding the contact person or room – you will have a nice gap to do so. In addition, there is no need to buy anything expensive or super official when considering your dress code. Instead, stick to something semi-formal that provokes a good, smart first impression. Lastly, no need for any wild social contact; but remember to offer a firm handshake upon arriving and leaving while constantly maintaining normal eye-contact. And hey, don’t let your gestures get out of control if you feel too much pressure – it is just an interview!

Never wiping the smile off your face!

In conclusion, a positive attitude is sometimes more valuable than anything else. Try to present yourself as best as you can without thinking that the interviewers are some sort of robots – they are human beings as well! Depending on the scenario, you might even get the opportunity of cracking a joke which can definitely boost your confidence and make you feel much more comfortable for the rest of the interview.

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