Studying abroad: About the difference in UK and US college interviews

first_imgFirst of all, let’s answer the two most common questions: what is acollege interview, and why does it matter? Many schools in the UnitedStates, the United Kingdom, and certain other places to which you mightbe applying to study abroad include an interview as part of theadmission process. The goal of the interview can depend on the school,but there are some general similarities.Interview process in US collegesLet’s talk about US colleges first. Many schools in America includeinterviews as a way for the admission officers or alumni acting for theadmissions committee to get to know a student better and learn who theyare beyond the limitations of the application. For schools in Hong Kong, the goals of the interview from the admissions side are very similar to those of the goals of a US admissions committee.A very commonquestion in the minds of the students is how much does the college weigh the interview when making their decision? Again, this depends on thecollege or university. Some colleges weigh it heavily, and some see itas one of the many things that can inform them about the student.Interview can help show your individualityFor international students, the interview can often be the only opportunity the student has to express their individuality. Because of the vastdifference in educational systems, applications from American studentsand those from international students applying to study in America often look wildly different. So, the interview is a chance for internationalstudents to even the playing field a little, and to give the school astronger sense of who they are and what they bring to the community.advertisementYou can find out if the college is a good fit for youJust like the college essay, the interview is an opportunity to show who you are as a person, and explain through your individuality what you willbring to the college campus. Beyond that, it’s also an opportunity foryou to meet someone from the school, to ask questions and get your ownpersonal sense of whether this school would be a good fit for you ornot. Remember, this goes both ways! Interview process in UK collegesThen there are UK schools in the UK– Oxford and Cambridge weigh theirinterview very heavily, and it can make or break your application.The interview is academic, not informativeThis is not an informative interview, but an academic one, designed to showthe school how the applicant thinks and responds to new ideas andintellectual issues. While some aspects of the applicant’s life and thefield of study they intend to pursue will definitely come up, thequestions are usually more abstract.The interview questions for theseinterviews can range from “Why do some habitats support higherbiodiversity than others?” to “Should there be a salary limit forbankers?” to “Imagine the only historical records left on earthconcerned sports. How much about the past could we find out?”The thought process is important, not the answer itselfFor these interviews, what matters most is not that you get a right orwrong answer, for many of them don’t have a single correct response, but that you represent your thought process. The interview is a procedureto check that you are able to consider, reason, think critically andengage in a dialogue about abstract and practical concepts. What yourinterviewer is looking for, essentially, is your ability to learn, not a recitation of what you already know. You are demonstrating curiosityand interest in the world, not listing knowledge you’ve already gained.Although they have different formats, all of these interviews on both sides ofthe Atlantic have the same essential goal. The admissions committeewants to know what kind of thinker you are, what kind of student you’vebeen, and what potential you hold for intellectual and social growth.After all, if you were already done growing academically, you wouldn’t needto go to college at all! So the goal for you, in whatever interview youfind yourself in, is to show who you are, where you’ve been, and whereyou want to go, with passion, candor and clarity.–Authored by Adarsh Khandelwal, Co-founder, Collegify (a college consulting firm for study abroad)last_img read more