An interview for university can be one of the most daunting aspects of applying, but it doesn’t need to be. Interviews are your chance to shine, they are simply a way for the university to see what type of person you are, not just what’s on paper.
So, the big question is, how should I prepare for an interview, and what should I expect? Here’s a student-approved guide on interviews at York.
Before the Interview
Preparation is a key part of feeling confident and successful at your interview.
1) Plan your day
Once you receive your interview date and time, you should plan how you will get here (if it is in person). You should think about what time you need to arrive by and whether you need to book accommodation. This is especially important if you are not nearby to York and are planning on using public transport. When booking your travel and accommodation, I’d recommend building in some time in case you encounter any delays. By planning your day in advance, you’ll be able to focus purely on your interview, with no added stresses.
You should also set some time aside to plan your interview outfit. Although this may sound trivial, the power of a good outfit that you feel confident in shouldn’t be underestimated! You want to be smart but comfortable for your interview. However, you should still feel like yourself. York is a diverse place with lots of different types of people, so the main thing is to come to your interview feeling at ease in whatever you choose to wear.
2) Knowing your stuff
Once you’ve planned your day, it’s time now to do a bit of interview prep. This might sound obvious, but make sure you re-read your application; including your personal statement, any essays you wrote, and any books you read and referenced. This will bring these ideas to the front of your mind, so you can expand on these points when asked.
It’s also a good idea to look up the course you’ve applied to and research any knowledge surrounding the subject. Whether it be recent events, articles, or things done by the university, a bit of research will go a long way! Your department is looking for you to be enthusiastic and passionate, so knowing about the subject you want to study will really help you impress in your interview.
3) Practice and preparation
If you’re feeling nervous before your interview, you should consider doing a bit of practice. Mock interviews can be a really helpful tool in combating nerves, whilst also perfecting any talking points you’d like to bring up in the real interview. Your teachers may be able to help you with this, or failing that, a friend might like the chance to play the role of interviewer!
Knowing what to expect from your interview will also help you feel more prepared. If you do a quick search on the University of York website and student forums, you’ll find out more about what you’ll experience on the day, as well as the types of questions you might be asked. Of course, your interview won’t be exactly the same as those in the past, but you can use others’ anecdotes to help you practice and gear your mind in the right direction.
4) Finally, the interview!
On the day, not only will you have your interview, but you might also have the opportunity to explore the university campus and speak with faculty members. Think of this as your chance to interview the university, as well as them interviewing you!
- Arrive on time: Try to be as punctual as possible, but don’t worry if you are delayed, these things happen!
- Be engaged: Throughout the day, try to stay alert and enthusiastic. My most important tip is to ask questions, as this shows your interviewers that you are interested and have been paying attention.
- Breathe and pause: if you’re faced with a difficult question, just take a minute to breathe and compose yourself. You’ve got this.
- Don’t worry about not knowing something: If you’re asked something you don’t know, don’t stress. Asking for an explanation and clarification won’t look bad, in fact, it will show that you’re willing to learn.
Your university interview can seem like the most daunting and important part of applying to university, but it doesn’t need to be. Think of the three P’s: Plan, Prepare, Practice. If you feel confident going into the interview beforehand, then you know that you’ve done all you can, just let yourself and your love for the subject shine through.
York wants you to have a good experience here, so enjoy the interview and the entire day. No one is setting you up to fail, they only want you to succeed. So, try to relax, breathe, and enjoy the experience. Before you know it, you’ll be holding your dissertation in the air, wondering where those years went!