Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, on How to Ace Your College Interview

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For many top-tier universities, an interview is one of the most critical steps in the journey to being accepted. You can make it through the entire process, be nearly at the finish line, and then fumble the interview. Don’t be the one to stumble at such a crucial stage. Instead, prepare for it ahead of time. In this article, Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, will share her tips on an ace that interview like a natural.

Prepare For Common Questions

Some questions are going to be universal. Things like “Why do you want to attend this school in particular?” “What is your favorite field of study?” and “Tell me some interesting things about yourself.” It stands to reason that you should be able to answer these sorts of questions. Make a list of all the questions that are likely to come up, so you aren’t caught off guard and practice answering them aloud.

Ask Good Questions About The School

You get through the whole interview, and now the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them. You are excited about the college. If so, you should have plenty of questions. Try to think of some questions that aren’t quickly answered with a bit of cursory research. Come up with some creative ones that will let the interviewer know that you are genuinely interested in the school.

Be Yourself But Professional

Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. It’s not going to work out. Present yourself how you are. Interviewers can typically tell if someone is putting on a front. At the same time, you should dress confidently and comfortably. Don’t act like you just threw on some random clothes and dragged yourself to the interview. Be yourself, of course, but also try to present the best possible version of yourself.

Relax and Act Natural

Treat the interview like you’re having a friendly conversation with somebody. When they ask you a question, answer confidently. Using some practiced responses can help with this, but don’t repeat something that sounds like you memorized it by rote. Use skillful responses as a foundation for having a casual conversation. You want to create a natural atmosphere that keeps the tension as low as possible. Not only will you feel more relaxed, but the interviewer will pick up on it as well.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You can follow all of these tips to the letter, but it won’t matter if you don’t practice them. Too many prospective students will get this far simply to fail out due to a lack of preparation. It’s a habit that many forms in high school — pushing work off until the last minute, and that’s part of what the interview is all about. You may know the answer in your head, but it helps to practice answering the questions out loud. Hearing yourself answer a question can help you fine-tune your response and feel more confident during the interview.

Erin Moriarty, Loyola University’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, wants you to remember that not every interview is going to go perfectly. The important thing is to remain confident in yourself and show the interviewer that you are willing to improve and learn. By following all of these tips, you will be in the best position possible for getting into your dream college.

About Erin Moriarty

Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, is passionate about students. She believes strongly in Loyola’s mission – to help mold young men and women to become leaders in today’s society and to seek God in all things. Outside of work, Erin can be found participating in Pedal the Cause or biking along the shores of Lake Michigan.

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