What to Do After Your College Interview
So you’ve submitted your application, and now you’re waiting for your interview. You’ve already heard about all the things to do before and during an interview, but what should you be doing afterward? In this post, we’ll answer that question and then spell out what you shouldn’t be doing post-interview.
What You SHOULD Do After an Interview:
- Send a thank-you email to your interviewer. It’s important to do this so that you show your interviewer that you appreciated his or her time and valued the conversation (even if you were a nervous wreck)! A thank-you email is more practical than a thank-you note, as you will not know your interviewer’s address (or so we hope) and can easily show that you care about the time you shared.
- Write and format your thank-you email correctly. To do this correctly, consider using the general outline below as a starting point for your email:
Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. ____[last name of interviewer**]____,
Thank you for taking the time to meet up with me on ____[date]____. I really enjoyed talking to you and am so glad that we both ______[conversation topic that you enjoyed and that you both shared in common]______.
Through our conversation, I also learned much more about ____[school]____ and am glad to know that ____[fact about school that you found useful, interesting, or endearing]___. It was truly a pleasure to hear about your own experiences at ____[school]____, which made the school seem like not an institution but a home and community.
(If you really bonded with your interviewer, you can add the following: “I’ll keep you posted on any updates to my applicant status.”)
Once again, I appreciate your time and insights.
Again, this is just a general guideline you can use to construct your more unique thank-you email. If you wish to style your email a little differently, there are a wealth of resources available to you—your school’s college resource center, your parents and teachers, the Internet, … the list goes on.
**Note: Some interviewers prefer to be called by their first name; they’ll usually let you know during your interview session. In that case, address your interviewer with “Dear ____[insert first name of interviewer]____. If you’re not sure whether the interviewer would liked to be called by his or her first name, simply use the conventional “Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. ____[last name of interviewer]____.”
- Write your thank-you email early on… Immediately after your interview session, take notes on what you and your interviewer discussed together. Be sure to write as much as you remember, including the specific details of your conversation. Then, start drafting your email. Have this email saved in your drafts without an email address in the subject line so that you don’t accidentally send it to your interviewer before you’re ready. Upon writing the first draft all the way through, just keep the email in your drafts and leave it alone. Come back to the draft and make edits when you’ve been away from it for awhile; this way, you can look at the email from a fresh perspective and catch any errors that may have initially slipped past you
- … And send it to your interviewer within 24 hours of your interview. But try to avoid sending in this email right after your interview, i.e. 1 or 2 hours after the interview’s end. If you send in your thank-you email too soon, then you’ll only show your interviewer that you are uptight and unaware of professional and social conventions. You should also be sure to avoid sending a thank-you email too late, otherwise the interviewer may believe that you didn’t place think highly enough of your meeting or that you only thought of writing the email as a late afterthought. The optimal time to send your email would be within 24 hours of the interview, but not too soon afterward either. In doing so, you’re giving your interviewer some space while also showing him/her that the topics of your discussion together simmered in your mind even later.
- Make sure you send your email when you’re in a clear-headed, focused state of mind. Make sure that you send the email when you’re in a good mood so that…
- You preserve the good quality of your previous writing.
- You can easily catch any careless mistakes you’re making.
- Your mind is clear and you feel good about what you’re doing.
Would it make sense to send the email in a dark mood? Probably not. Just ensure that what you’re sending to your interviewer is finalized when you feel your best.
The above are all instances of how to take your post-interview experience in the right direction. But then there are sometimes mistakes lurking around the corner, and they may catch you off guard. Now, we’ll let you know some pitfalls to avoid, and also throw in some painful scenarios that really happened to some students working at CollegeVine.
Without further ado, here are all the things you SHOULD NOT do after an interview:
- Neglect to follow up. Don’t forget to send this important thank-you email. Write it in your calendar if you must! If you enjoy writing on your hands, you can even leave a pen-scribbled note on your palm.
- Stick too closely to a generic outline. You don’t want to follow the exact outline that you’re using as the basis for your email. If you write your email exactly according to the outline, then you’ll end up with a generic-sounding note or one that your interviewer could even find on the Internet (well, if worse came to worst). Add some originality to your email. Don’t be afraid to talk about something else, too, that the outline doesn’t have covered. Just make sure that this additional content a) is sensible enough to add and b) will help your interviewer realize just how much the interview meant to you.
- Send out your email without triple-checking for mistakes. As cringe-worthy as this sounds, one of us here on the CollegeVine team accidentally pasted a generic thank-you outline at the end of her email! Although it wasn’t the end of the world for her, this experience shows that you should have a clear mind and be very careful when you send your final email. Every last action counts.
- Panic if you make a mistake during the process. If you find yourself making a mistake during the post-interview process, remember that it’s not the end of the world! The majority of interviewers won’t send a bad report if you make a small mistake, and they are likely to be very sympathetic to a nervous student. Don’t forget that interviews only make up a small portion of what colleges consider during the admissions process; the rest of your profile may arguably be of greater importance. (But please, still try to follow the above advice as best you can.)
So there you have it: the do’s and don’t’s of what to do following your interview. Stick to the guidelines above, and you’ll have your interview portion mastered while still keeping your cool.