Thousands of high schools students are venturing to college campuses this summer to not only tour the campus, but to sit down for a face-to-face interview. While participating in a college interview is a great way to learn more about the college and to show the admissions office how you put your best foot forward, it is not always a possibility. The reality is that showing interest in a school matters in the college admission process. So what do you do if you can’t afford to visit a school? Or if you already visited a school, but did not have a chance to interview with an admissions officer? Ask for a virtual interview.
Many colleges are now offering virtual interviews to candidates who can not make it to campus. Using programs like Skype, Google Talk and IChat, students are now able to interview with an admissions officer without every leaving home. There are also companies like mycollegei.com that are specifically designed to facilitate a virtual college admission interview.
While some of the initial college interview tips we posted last fall remain the same, here are some tips to keep in mind if you are planning on doing a virtual college interview:
Get comfortable with the technology: Before the date of your interview, make sure you know what type of virtual chat program you will be using and how it works. Practice Skyping or chatting with one of your friends. Make sure you know how to adjust the volume and the picture.
Find out the contact information: Make sure you are able to add the admissions officer you will be chatting with as a contact. Are they going to call you or do you need to call them? Also, if you are in a different time zone, make sure you clarify what time the interview will take place.
Appearances do matter: Just because you are not interviewing in person, does not mean you can slack off on your appearance. If you have the “just rolled out of bed” look it will show. Also make sure you pay attention to what is behind you. Remember that the interviewer can see your surroundings so make sure your room is clean! A messy background can be a big distraction and you want the interviewer to pay attention to you, not the huge poster on the wall behind you.
Show your interest: During the interview, make sure you communicate your interest in the school. If you are not able to visit, be able to say why the school is at the top of your list based on the research you have conducted. If you did visit, make sure you share what your impressions were of the campus and community. Talk about what excites you about the school.
Remember, just because you are doing a virtual interview, it is still an interview. The conversation you have is still going to used in evaluation of your application!