This is the hardest part of the application process, and the only chance you get to show what you're made of. Everyone writes good personal statements with a little help, but it's here that you're out on your own. It's now all up to you, and so it's here where you need to leave your mark.
It's important to find out what the interview day will consist of. You may have more than one interview, and you may be asked to do tests. The interview day will probably be merged with an open day, so you'll get a chance to look around too.
Think about the image your trying to create. What are you going to wear? Casual? Smart? Normally, I don't think a suit or tie is necessary, apart from maybe Oxford or Cambridge, or applying for medicine. Best to be overdressed rather than under.
Think about the questions they might ask you.
ART AND DESIGN COURSES
- Why do you want to do this course?
- Why do you want to go to this uni?
- Why did you pick the A-Levels you're doing?
- What activities do you do outside of college?
- What would you like to do with your degree?
- The basis for the interview will be the personal statement. Look back at what you wrote and go over each point in detail, so that you can explain what you wrote and why - should you be asked.
- Also think of subject matter that's not on the personal statement, things that you couldn't fit on the page, but would like the interviewer to know about. When they ask if you have anything else to say - make sure you have.
- Remember to show that you are well-rounded, and not just a geek or a jock.
- At the end of the interview, they will ask you whether you have any questions. Make sure you have some prepared. Ask questions to do with the course or university only.
Remember if you are doing an Art/Design or Fashion course, then you may be asked to take some of your work along. Prepare well, and have an answer for anything.
Show your work to your family and get them to ask questions. Be able to go through your thought processes when you were making the design.
MEDICINE AND VETERINARY
- Why did you use these colours and techniques?
What bits did you find hard?
What bit are you most pleased with and why?
If you are going for a course like medicine or veterinary, expect high entry requirements, but also for the competition to be seriously tough. They will ask you about your opinions on a current topical issue. This subject is likely to come from the morning paper that the interviewer has read on the way to the interview, so make sure you are up to date with current affairs. Read the broadsheet papers for a fortnight or so beforehand. Your university should have a copy in the library to save you buying it each day.
For science interviews, you may be asked to take a piece of your work with you, either project or laboratory based. Be prepared for questions to be asked about the work, which could be at degree level.
It's not the actual answer that matters: it's how you go about trying to solve it. If they ask you something you don't understand - make sure you say so.
For all interviews, if they ask a question that you don't know the answer to, your method of getting to the answer is more important than the answer itself.
There are many types of interview, so it's worth getting in some practice under mock interview conditions before you go - especially for courses that are hard to get into.
Normal interviews last between 15 and 30 minutes. You may be interviewed by any number of people, and the more there are, the worse it normally is.
You may find that there are written or verbal tests, either of Maths or English ability, or reasoning tests. These may seem quite abstract, so it's worth having a practice before you go.
THE REAL THING
Follow these tips:
- Start with a good handshake and a normal greeting. no Ali G. or Tim Westwood here please. Do nothing irritating whatsoever at any point (no jokes either). And make sure you haven't got clammy and sweaty palms too... there's nothing worse.. ew!!!
- The interviewers want this to be fun - they've done 15 already today, and have another 10 to go. So make it a fun experience for them, and try to make it memorable (for the right reasons) and try to make them like you. They have to put up with you for the next three years, so you need to convince them you're great.
- Don't look out the window, and keep eye contact. I mean, don't stare, but keep focused.
- Avoid yes or no answers, and make sure you expand where ever possible. Keep your answers to a few well thought out sentences and no more. Each answer should be about a minute long, but allow for them to come back at you with follow up questions. Answer questions truthfully. It can be easy to tell if you're lying, and if the interviewers are nasty they may try to catch you out, so watch what you say.
- Show that you have a mind of your own and can think for yourself, show opinion, but only where you have a rational base to it.
- Read up on as many subjects as you can before you get there. Have model answers to "why do you want to come here" and "why this course" as they are bound to come up. Don't say "I want to do
Art because it's interesting." Definitely don't say, "I want to come to Aberdeen because I live in Bournemouth and I don't like my parents".
- The personal statement will be the starting point on any interview. Give your personal statement to someone who hasn't read it before you go and ask them what questions they would pick out/what was unclear from it. It will be blindingly obvious to you, because you're writing about yourself, but others may not quite get it.
- You will be asked about your hobbies and interests, so make sure you can explain what you've done and when, what you've won, and how you got into it in the first place. Also be able to talk about what you've gained from it, and how it has made you a "better person".
- At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions.
Try to make these last about five minutes or so...
Read on to find out about the mad scramble of Clearing
Or go back to Applying to Uni