1. Does your high school record accurately reflect your effort and ability?

In the interview or on your application, you often have an opportunity to explain a bad grade or a bad semester. Be careful with this issue -- you don't want to come across as a whiner or as someone who blames others for a low grade. However, if you really did have extenuating circumstances, let the college know.

2. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

You don't need to pretend that you have your life figured out if you get a question like this. Very few students entering college could accurately predict their future professions. However, your interviewer does want to see that you think ahead. If you can see yourself doing three different things, say so -- honesty and open-mindedness will play in your favor.

3. If you could do one thing in high school differently, what would it be?

A question like this can turn sour if you make the mistake of dwelling on things you regret. Try to put a positive spin on it. Perhaps you've always wondered if you would have enjoyed acting or music. Maybe you would have liked to give the student newspaper a try. Maybe, in retrospect, studying Chinese might have been more in line with your career goals than Spanish. A good answer shows that you didn't have the time in high school to explore everything that is of interest to you.

4. Tell me what do you do for fun in your free time?

"Hangin' out and chillin'" is a weak answer for this question. College life obviously isn't all work, so the admissions folks want students who will do interesting and productive things even when they aren't studying. Do you write? hike? play tennis? Use a question such as this one to show that you are well-rounded with a variety of interests.

5. Share with me what are your strengths and weaknesses?

Most interviewers love this question and most students answer it with little thought. Think about this question. It's not enough to say you are a leader or you are a loyal friend. You need examples and incidents that communicate your strengths, and will help the judges understand why you believe they are strengths. When talking about a weakness, be honest. The key is to show that you are taking steps to minimize or overcome this weakness. For instance, if you are a procrastinator, explain how you are developing time management skills, goal setting, and using organization tools to correct it.

6. Tell us about a challenge that you overcame?

This question is designed to see what kind of problem solver you are. When confronted with a challenge, how do you handle the situation? College will be full of challenges, so the college wants to make sure they enroll students who can handle them.

7. Why do you want to attend this college?

Use this question to reveal something about yourself that they might not know. Don't state the obvious and say-because it's a top-tiered college, or they have majors that interest you, or your parents went there. Walk the interviewer through the thought process you took when selecting the college. This will communicate what's important to you and show them what you value, why you want to attend their college, and what you hope to gain from an education there.

8. Tell me what can I tell you about our college?

You can almost guarantee that your interviewer will provide an opportunity for you to ask questions. Make sure you have some, and make sure your questions are thoughtful and specific to the particular college. Avoid questions like "when is the application deadline?" or "how many majors do you have?" This information is both uninteresting and readily available on the school's webpage. Come up with some probing and focused questions: "What would graduates of your college say was the most valuable thing about their four years here?" "I read that you offer a major in interdisciplinary studies. Could you tell me more about that?"

9. Who do you most admire?

When interviewers ask this question they are trying to learn something about you through the person you admire most. It says something about you so it's important to explain your choice. It's not enough just to give a name, you need to know something about the person and why they inspire you. Don't be frivolous with this question, it shows what you value most in a person and how you will model your success based on that person's admirable attributes.

10. Tell me why are you interested in our college?

Be specific when answering this, and show that you've done your research. Also, avoid answers like "I want to make a lot of money" or "Graduates of your college get good job placement." You want to highlight your intellectual interests, not your materialistic desires. What specifically about the college distinguishes it from other schools you're considering?

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