The College Interview: The Fanscotian offers advice to ease senior stress


Alyssa Cordero

Entering the last year of high school, most seniors think that they have conquered the most difficult of their trials: junior year. This common thought, however, could not be farther from the truth.
Besides counting down the days until graduation, seniors pack schedules with rigorous classes AP classes, taking or retaking standardized tests , and most importantly, the college application process. Hitting send on the Common App does not signal the end of this arduous process, it is only the beginning.
Seniors still have to complete other tasks before they can commit on May 1. One of these tasks, is the college interview. Luckily, The Fanscotian is here to help.
SPFHS counselor Denise Palozzola and senior and future Dartmouth student Simon Oster offered their advice on how to get seniors through their college interviews.
What is the purpose of a college interview?
Palazzola: An interview gives the student the opportunity to present themselves in a three-dimensional manner. It gives the interviewer more insight into that individual and a broader sense of whether they would be a good fit for the particular community.
Oster: Interviews are often ways that colleges can add a more personable part to an application, so of course they simply want to know who their applicant is as a person.
How should a student prepare for their college interview?
Palazzola: I think that first impressions are important. We all sort of roll into school on any given day, just prepared to learn and looking the part. You know putting that extra effort and energy into that first impression is important. Sort of appearing professional. As far as prepping, I think that some basic interview skills that might be overlooked are eye-contact and a firm handshake, a confident greeting. Just sort of sit down and relax and don’t feel like you have to put on a presentation, just honestly answer the question that the Interview is asking.
Oster: Research, research. Research. Once my interviewer contacted me I began doing plenty of research, learning how the interview would count towards my application, as well as making sure that I had a solid understanding of the specific programs and events and classes at the college in which I am interested [in].
What should a student takeaway from this interview?
Palazzola: You want to feel that it was a positive experience. Use it as an opportunity to ask any questions you might have as a potential student at that university.
Oster: I think that every students will take away from the interview is whether or not the college is a good fit for him or her. I learned so much new information from my interviewer, and since I liked what I heard, it built up by excitement towards the school.
What is one thing that the student should remember?
Palazzola: The person coming into interview you is just here to chat. Just take that pressure off and to relax and be yourself with the information that might be useful to college. The college wants to know that you know about their school and that you understand the basic philosophy of that school and why you feel you would be a good fit for their program.
Oster: Enjoy the experience and take advantage of the time with the interviewer. Especially if an alumnus or alumna conducts the interview, his or her responses to your questions will be some of the most frank answers you may get during the entire college-search process, so definitely take advantage of your time together.