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General Tips and Advice for University Interviews

Have you received an interview invite to your chosen university? You are only one step away from receiving an offer to study there! Receiving an interview invite means that the admissions team at the university are interested in your application and like what they see. All you have to do at this stage is to be yourself and show them your interest in the course and in their university.

This post will cover the 'general' interview tips which cover all interview types and will be useful in any course you have an interview for. 

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1) Have a 'general' answer prepared to the question: "Why do you want to study this course?"

This question is almost always used by the panelists on interviews. It is used as a means to throw you off-track from the get go of the interview, but also to test your confidence and motivation to study the course you have chosen.

• Ensure that your answer does not sound rehearsed.

Interviewers will be quick to catch you out if your answer sounds forced or 'robotic'. Have a few key points memorised beforehand to use as a 'trigger' in the interview for if the question comes up, instead of reading off a script. For example, if there was a key event (such as work experience, or something that happened throughout your life) that sparked your interest, remember the key points which you can then expand on in front of the interviewer.

• Talk about your experiences which led you to want to pick this course.

Interviewers want to know about what initially sparked your motivation and interest into applying for their course. Make sure that you talk about your experiences, whether it is from work experience, your own independent research, or a 'life-changing' event, dive into the driving force that made you realise that this course is for you.

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2) Research into the University that you have the interview with

The interviewers not only want to know about why you want to study the chosen course, but why you chose their university to study at. They may ask you why you want to study at their university. You want to ensure that you are up-to-date on all the information about the university and why you chose them to study the course with.

• Course Modules and Teaching Style

All universities have information about the modules in each year of study, alongside the style of teaching they offer. This will show them that you went the extra mile to indulge yourself into their course even before studying at their university, which further shows your motivation to study. They may also offer unique course modules which other universities do not offer; a further reason you may want to study at their university.

• Extracurriculars and Societies

University is not just about constantly studying. There are opportunities for you to join many societies and meet people who share common interests to you, whether it is on a topic or an activity, it is a chance to have a good balance between your work and social life. Interviewers want to see how you will fit into their university as a social person, not just someone who studies constantly.

They may also offer extracurricular activities within the course itself, such as a semester or year abroad (sometimes called an 'Elective'), connections with companies for work experience outside of study (internships etc.), all further reasons to study at their university, which may be useful later down in your career when it comes to employability.

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3) Read over your Personal Statement

At this stage, your personal statement is the only information (alongside your reference) that the admissions team and interviewers have about you. At this point is where you use this to your advantage, to expand on all the points in your PS in detail, always linking back to what you learned from your experiences and how they led to you wanting to study this course.

• Your Key Skills and Experiences

An interviewer's goal is to tick off a list of criteria that you must fulfil throughout the interview. Your Personal Statement should contain the key skills you have to offer which make you suitable to study the course. Expanding on these while talking about your experiences shows your ability to reflect upon what you have learned, and shows what you have to offer as a student.

• Reflection

As mentioned in the previous point, it is crucial that you understand the importance of 'Reflection' during your interview. Sure, it's all good to have a lot of work experience in your chosen field of study, but to be unable to talk about what you picked out from the work or from the people you worked with makes the whole experience pointless. Being able to reflect upon what you learned shows that you know what it takes to study the course and have an idea of what it will be like as an employer in the subject industry.

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Summary

These are tips for the questions that are most likely to come up during your interview. The questions tend to get more subject-specific depending on the course you have chosen to study, in which the deeper questions will differ from scenario to scenario.

For more subject-specific help with your interviews, make sure to look out for posts in the future on our 'University Blogs' page regarding interview tips for relevant courses.

Edited by Milad
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