What questions should I be prepared to ask?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,299
    College counselor Jerome A. Cole, MA explains what questions should the student be prepared to ask during their college interview.

    Speaker: What questions should I be prepared to ask?

    Jerome Cole: I think that it's important that anytime you go to a college interview or any interview in life for that matter that you always be prepared with questions and I would think two to three questions is probably the max that you should have because you're probably not going to get the opportunity to ask more than that. The one question that you ask should be an academic related question and so, for example, if you are interested in studying in a particular area be it science, math, art, what have you, I would ask a question that speaks to the area where you want to study and what you want to do in trying to figure out what question to ask is, you want to do a little research on your own. So you want through go to the school's website; you want to do some research into that particular department and then based on what you've learn, pullout one or two questions and then select one.

    So if you are interested in science go to the science department, read up on a department and then pull one question out. In doing that, you are going to be doing several things, one; you are going to be conveying to them, this is an area of interest for me. Two; you are going to be showing the interviewer that you've done some research; you are serious about this; you are just not just showing up unprepared that you've taken the time to go and you understand that they have a biology department that is right now Number 10 in the country and that it offers these majors and this is the course selection, but what you want to know is you want to get a little more detailed information. So that's the second reason why you want to ask that academic question. The second question that you want to ask should be a non academic question. It should be a question that speaks to maybe the social aspect of the college. Talking about maybe the roommate situation, talking about off campus activities, what do kids do when they are not studying in class, what do they do off campus, something that is going to give you some insight into what non academic pursuits are kids going after and it's also going to give the interviewer some ideas of some things that you are interested in. So I had a conversation recently with a parent and they just talked about the fact that their son liked the bicycle; was a cyclist and so I said, well, we were talking about the particular school up north and I said, well, I am thinking that it's the weather maybe does not allow the opportunity with the snow and what not to do a lot of bicycling. Well, that would be a question that if you are an avid cyclist that would be a question that you would bring up. You would say, hey, look, I am an avid cyclist; I love to bicycle; I own three bicycles; I have been riding bikes for 10-years; I compete; I do this I do that. If I come to me, how much of an opportunity that I am going to have to continue with this pursuit of mine. So those are the types of -- that's an example of a non academic question that you want to ask. So I think that would be a good second question. The third question that I think that every student should be armed with in an interview is to always ask the person who is going to interview, if you have answered and fully answered all of their questions, is there any thing that I said to you that maybe left you wondering. Can I go back and clear up anything? So what that does is that gives you the opportunity to go back, maybe you think you answered the questions fully, but you really didn't , that gives you an opportunity to go back and clean it up.

    So you always want to ask that question and if you have those three questions in your back pocket, you are going to be fine. The other thing to bear in mind is that when you go through an interview, this is a two-way conversation. You are talking about yourself and who you are and what you bring to the campus. The person who is doing the interview is trying to determine who you are and what you bring to the campus, but there are also going to be sharing information with you about the campus. They are trying to sell you on their school; so they are going to tell you, our biology department is right now Number 10 in the country and I know you are interested in biology, there is going to be that two-way exchange; so you as a student should not walk into this feeling like all of the pressure is on you. It's actually a two-way exchange. You are trying to sell yourself; the college is trying to sell themselves and so you should take some comfort in that fact. It is a two-way exchange.