So it’s the end of the interview, you can heave a sigh of relief as the grill is over. With all the tips you’ve garnered from all our college interview series, you’ve been able to nail the interview. At least, we hope so. But it’s not over yet as the interviewer drops the usual “any questions?” bomb.
For many, the importance and criticalness of this section is unknown. So, to a very large extent, many just wing it, which can end up in fatalistic results. In the first place, the reply “no question” or any of its long and short distance cousins are unacceptable. This section is not just for you to find out about the school. It is also a way for your interviewer to know about you and the things that matter to you. The interviewer also gets to know how you think.
Now, since you know this, you probably already think that you need to think carefully beforehand of the questions you intend to ask your interviewer before you ask him/her so you can make the most use of that opportunity. And yes, you are very correct. To help you we have come up with some guidelines to help you ask great, interview-appropriate questions that your interviewer will be only too willing to answer. Today, we will be giving you an expose on questions you can and cannot ask your interviewer during your college interview. If you stick to these guidelines, you’ll find that asking your interviewer a question when he/she invites you to isn’t such a big deal after all. Of course, you are not limited to these question types. You can always ask something else, if you’re able to come up with something just as, or even more intelligent than, the questions that we will list in this post.
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READ: The Ideal College Application Timeline
What to Ask Your Interviewer
Here’s a list of questions your interviewer during college interview.
1. Questions about Your Specific Interests
Whatever your specific interests might be, it’s always a good idea to research on your proposed school and check out the unique offerings they have that can help you pursue that interest of yours. You’ll also need to make your research to find out the list of courses they have in that area of your interest. Also, find out the professors in those departments and tidbits about how those departments run. In your research, you might find out unique and fantastic opportunities to help you excel in your field of interest. These are things you can ask your interviewer about. When you ask questions from thorough research, it says a lot about you. It tells the interviewer that you’re thorough. It also gives the impression that you are interested in your passion as much as you’re interested in the school, and that you’re intelligent too.
2. Questions that are Answerable Only by Alumni
Besides admitting people who are book smart and exceptional in extracurricular activities, another major job of the admissions committee is to create a class made up of all kinds of students coming from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. They do this to ensure that students complement one another’s strengths, and interests. They want to ensure that aside the education you receive in class, you’re also learning from your classmates too . That gives a more wholesome college experience. So, yes, the admissions committee would be interested in students who are interested in the learning community they are seeking admission into.
The issue with finding out about a school’s culture is that it can only be factually and truthfully told by people who have actually lived in it. But there’s some good news though, most interviewers are actually alumni of the school. So, if there’s any particular aspect of the school’s culture that you’re interested in finding out about, your interview is a great place to have such questions answered.
Quick pointer before we leave this point, you want to ask pointed, specific questions here not vague ones. For instance, you can ask something like “In your stay here, would you say that social life revolved around dorm communities or extracurricular clubs?”. A vague question will sound this way “is the workload very heavy”. Questions like this (vague questions) make you appear confused. Also, in answering them, the interviewer can hardly give an objective answer, he’d have to give his opinion as an answer. Always ensure that whatever you’re asking, it is specific and objective.
3. Questions about Your Concerns
It might seem silly to ask your interviewer questions about your worries and fears. Most students are understandably hesitant to do that, thinking that it might make them appear uninterested in the school. But many times, this isn’t the case. Honesty sure is always the best way to go. If properly framed, any genuine question about your fears or worries will definitely be welcomed and answered.
Let’s give a few examples. Say the school is very far away from home, for instance, you can ask about the presence and vibrancy of student support groups. Or if you’ve found out that professors do not really care to spend the extra time knowing their students, you can ask your interviewer how it was when he/she tried to pursue a relationship with his professor during his/her time. Questions like these show the interviewer that you have thought deeply and logically about the school. It shows you have considered its strengths and weaknesses, and now seeking ways to turn the weaknesses in your favour.
So, don’t be scared to voice out your fears. Just ensure that overall, you exude a positive, infectious enthusiasm about the school and you will be fine. And then again, who knows? Maybe the response you get might assuage your fears. You’ll never know till you ask.
4. Questions that your Interviewer is Specifically Suited to Answer
In some settings, you receive information like a short bio or something on your interviewer before the interview. If this happens for you, then ensure that you read it carefully. Also, find out the things you both have in common. Maybe the major he/she pursued, an activity he/she did while in school or some other thing. If there is/are, then be sure to find out from them how it was like. It really doesn’t make sense not to ask someone who has gone through the exact same path you intend to tread how the road was, don’t you think?
If you’re not provided with such information, then don’t worry. Your interviewer will definitely introduce himself/herself at the beginning of the interview, you could pick up a few things from there.
Now, there are sometimes that you and your interviewer might have absolutely nothing in common. It’s not the end. You don’t have to try to force anything. You can just ask about anything else instead.
Now, as much as we have advised that you put some thought into deciding what question to ask before going into the interview, it’s equally important that you do not sacrifice genuine concerns on the altar of trying to sound smart. Go in with composure and confidence. Before you over think things, just keep in mind to ask genuine questions whose answers you are really interested in finding out.
READ: College Interviews: What to Say
What not to Ask
1. Questions about Things You Should Already Know
Here’s a rule of thumb when talking about things you should already know as it pertains to a school you’re applying to. If that thing is critical to your decision to apply to the school, then it is something that you should already know. It’s definitely something that you should not be asking your interviewer about. For instance, you cannot just be asking yourself if the school offers your intended major at the level of the college interview. You will appear unserious. So, while you’re going through all the application brouhaha, don’t forget to step back. Take a look at the broader picture and make your research on the deal-breaking details.
2. Questions About Things You Could Know
Things you could know are a bit different from the things you should already know. That’s because they aren’t so critical to your application decision. However, you can find the answers through research. Before going in for an interview, make it a point to carefully browse through the school’s website and garner as much info as you can. This way, you won’t go to your interviewer with questions that you could easily have found answers to yourself. Also, doing this from the comfort of your home can also help you decide on whether or not to apply to the school at all.
Asking question that you can easily find answers too not only creates a bad impression but might actually count against you during your interview. How? One of the factors that admissions committee consider when making an admission decision is the student’s interest. Now, imagine you come to the interview asking questions that have already been answered on the school’s website with copious, painstakingly detailed, and regularly updated information. What would that say of you? Your guess is as good as ours. So, go and read up.
3. Questions Your Interviewer Has No Way of Knowing
Always keep in mind the limits of your interviewer’s knowledge or experience. Avoid asking questions that he/she cannot or might not be allowed to answer. Questions about the admissions process or your admission status just make you appear nosy and pushy. So, please avoid them.
We’re sure you’ve learned a thing or two about asking the right questions to your interviewer. Now, you know what to ask your interviewer during college interview. Remember, the key is to ask questions that you’re genuinely seeking answers to and avoid those ones that make you sound nosy and pushy.
If this post has helped as we are sure it has, don’t forget to share with your friends too. Until next time, we urge you to keep following Effiko. Like we always say here, we are committed to seeing you soar academically. We wish you the very best with your college applications and we say, may the odds be ever in your favour. Toodles!