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The College Interview - Not as Scary as it Sounds!

Interviews can be super scary! Harvard was my first college interview (and basically my first interview ever) and I was terrified. But I truly had a wonderful interview experience, and I have heard the same from many of my friends here. Although I wish I could just tell you not to sweat the process too much, I know I would not have listened to my own advice three years ago. So here are a few tips for the interview! 

  1. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand! If you are awake and alert, you will be all the more ready to talk about yourself for approximately an hour. 
  2. Bring your resume just in case. My interviewer specifically asked me to bring mine, but even if yours doesn’t, just having it in a folder with you can make you look really prepared. Also if you get really nervous and forget a key fact about yourself you can always look down! 
  3. Remember that your interview’s job (that they have eagerly signed up for) is to get to know you. They don’t want to confuse you, trick you into answering a question “wrong,” or make you nervous. 
  4. Be your authentic self! I know this may seem cliché, but the interview is one of the select few times that you get to show Harvard who you are in your own words and actions (the other big one being your personal statement). The interviewer, and subsequently the admissions officers, are trying to get a feel for what you are like one-on-one. They want to know how you would get along with a roommate, talk to peers in a dining hall, or meet with a professor at office hours. 
  5. Send a follow up email the night of or morning after your interview to thank the interviewer for their time. In addition to just being courteous, this will show them that you are respectful, engaged, and organized and will help them remember your conversation. 
  6. My last piece of advice is to think of the interview as something that is as much for your benefit as it is for the college’s. Take this hour to get to know a really cool Harvard alum! Ask questions about what life at Harvard is like, but also what life after college is like. Did they leave college with anything remaining on their bucket list? Did they have a specific meaningful experience that they could share? Use this time to get all your questions answered and learn more about the school to which you are applying. 

Happy interviewing! 

P.S. Remember that this is the last thing you have to do for your application! After you are done and you receieve your decisions, you will look as happy as young-Claire looks here! 


Student selfie

About the author

Hello, my name is Claire, and I am currently a junior in Currier House studying government with a secondary in neurobiology. I am from Ossining, New York so was already an East-coaster at heart... View full profile

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