How to nail a school interview

Nationally recognized college counselor, Danny Ruderman, shares tips on how to do your best in a college interview
College Application Advice | The School Interview | Kids in the House
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How to nail a school interview

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The first thing to understand about interviews is that they cannot hurt you. It is just the way for the school to get to know you as a person. So I don’t role-play or stress my students out about interviews, I say, “Go, answer the questions and be yourself.” However, there’s a couple of things that you can do to prepare for it that will help you. For college interviews, the number one thing is to know why you want to go to that school, specifically. So you should've researched the programs, the classes offered, the extra-curricular, the study abroad programs; even if you don’t know what you want to do in it, I bet you have interests. So the more that you can speak about who you are and how that school matches up to what you want, the more impressive that you’re going to be in that interview. The other thing is you want to just think about things like what is your favorite book? Who is your role model? What do you like to do in your spare time? These are just general questions that if I were interviewing you, I want to get to know you. So you want to give some thought to how you answer these, but I don’t like to script things because then it seems too stilted. Just be yourself, make eye contact and you’re going to be fine. So when you’re in an interview and someone asks you a question, there’s only one bad answer, and that looks like this: “So I understand that you want to go to USC?” “Yes.” That’s a bad answer because they don’t learn anything about you. If you are nervous though, you don’t know what to say, you can say, “You know what? That’s a good question, let me think about that for a second.” Or you can say, “This is really important to me, I’m just a little nervous, so if I come off a little nervous, I’m sorry about that.” Be honest, be authentic; they’re not looking for robots, they understand how old you are. So just be yourself and answer the best way that you can.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

Nationally recognized college counselor, Danny Ruderman, shares tips on how to do your best in a college interview

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Expert Bio

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Danny Ruderman

Independent College Counselor

Danny Ruderman is a nationally recognized college counselor whose mission is to help as many families as possible navigate the admissions process.  

The Fontana High School and Stanford grad is the author of The Ultimate College Acceptance System and creator of college counseling programs used by school districts across the U.S. and Fortune 500 companies. He is known for his huge forehead and helping students get into schools that really match their interests. His newest book, Top 100 Answers to Your College Admissions Questions will be released in March 2013.

Danny graduated with Honors from Stanford University and holds a BA in Human Biology with an emphasis in Education. He was named a Merit Teacher for his work at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles and worked as an educational therapist for K&M Associates in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors (WACAC). He has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Between the Lines on PBS, College Bound Magazine, The Bill Handel Show, and Powernomics. Danny is also a regular contributor to Money 101 on KFWB in Los Angeles.

More Parenting Videos from Danny Ruderman >
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