4 Helpful Tips To Prepare For Your College Admissions Video Interview

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While many colleges still perform in-person interviews through alums local to you, others have turned to video through Skype and other online video platforms. Video can be an especially good option if you live in a rural location or area that doesn’t have many nearby alumni.


In some ways, conducting your interview over video can make it a more comfortable experience, since you’ll be in a familiar place. Still, the interview may also present some challenges, such as feeling unnatural.


Are you having a video interview for college admissions? Here are four tips for making sure it goes smoothly.



1. Dress Professionally

Just because you’re not meeting your interviewer in person doesn’t mean you should treat the meeting as any less important. Dress as you would in an in-person interview. For girls, that means a blouse or sweater and dress pants or a skirt, and for boys, dress pants and collared shirt. Check out Looking the Part: What to Wear to Your College Interview for more tips on dressing your best.


Your interviewer probably won’t see your footwear—or even your pants. However, while you can go barefoot, wearing nice shoes can help you feel more professional and confident.



2. Do a Practice Run

As with an in-person interview, you should practice ahead of time. Run through practice questions with a parent, guidance counselor, teacher, or friend. Also be sure to have questions of your own ready to ask the interviewer. Try to come up with ones for which you can’t easily find the answers on the college’s website.


It might be tempting to use notes in a video interview, but your interviewer will probably notice if you’re frequently checking. Practice enough that you’re confident in your responses and don’t need to look at your notes.


Make sure to test out the equipment you’ll be using ahead of time. You should have non-flaky wifi and a non-cantankerous computer, ipad, or other device. You may want to record yourself practicing so you can see how you come off on screen beforehand.

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3. Choose an Appropriate Location

Find a quiet place where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Your house is probably your best option; a coffee shop may be too noisy, and you might disturb the other customers.


Use a room with good lighting, and pay attention to what your interviewer will see in the background. You don’t want to be sitting on your bed, because that won’t come off as very professional. If you have a desk in your bedroom, you could sit there; just make sure the interviewer won’t be put off by any less-than-professional decor. A family or living room could also work. Make sure your family members know about the interview, so they won’t interrupt you.



4. Conduct Yourself as You Would in an In-Person Interview

As we discussed earlier, you should be wearing appropriate clothing; don’t sit there in your pajamas. Likewise, your demeanor should reflect how you would behave in an in-person interview. Remember: It’s still a conversation between two people.


If you’re uncomfortable on camera, rehearse, or, as mentioned earlier, record yourself practicing so you gain more confidence. Make sure you research the school thoroughly and practice responding to typical questions, such as “Tell me about yourself.” Other typical questions might include:


  • Why do you want to attend X school?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself


Be sure to follow-up with a thank you note to your interviewer as well.



Remember, It’s Still an Interview

Just because your interview is on camera doesn’t make it all that different from an in-person interview. The conversation is likely to flow as it would if you were sitting face-to-face. Prepare thoroughly, and make sure you account for the technical aspects and other factors, such as location. Then you’ll be in great shape!


For more advice on college interviews, check out these articles:


How to Prepare for Your College Interview

9 Questions You Can Never Ask in an Interview

How Much Do Interviews Matter?


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.