Got interviews for college admissions coming up? The good news is that you have made it this far. The less exciting news, however, if you are quite the introvert, is that you will have the spotlight focused directly on you.
To avoid looking like a deer caught in the headlights, you can take advantage of simple interview tips shared by reputable PhD admission consultants.
These strategies are beneficial to introverted individuals who may feel uncomfortable at the mere thought of participating in an interview. Bear in mind that introverts are not necessarily shy, nor do they have strong feelings about other people. Generally, it is part of an introvert’s personality to crave time for quiet reflection, prefer to work alone, and refrain from excessively expressing feelings.
But while these qualities may make a person feel a little uneasy during an interview, they certainly do not have to be fatal flaws.
Since most people tend to form an impression of others during an initial conversation, appearing as eager and confident as someone with an extroverted personality can be a plus. Direct eye contact and a confident handshake are critical. You may recover from an interview that got off to a rocky start, but it will definitely work to your advantage if everything goes well from the very first moment.
1. Accept the interview with enthusiasm
Express your pleasure at being afforded this great opportunity, whether in an email or over the phone. Avoid expressing even the slightest anxiety or self-doubts.
2. Know the interview location and arrive on time
Whenever possible, you should get a sense of what the location looks like. Establish how long it will take you to get there from where you are staying. Also, check the weather forecast. There is no need to add stress and anxiety over the possibility of arriving late, getting drenched in the rain, or ruining your outfit because of pools of sweat to the concerns you already have.
3. Ask questions
Be as detailed as possible with the things you need to say, without sounding scared. If you can visualize the situation in advance, you will become more prepared for the interview. It’s best to get an overall sense of the timing, pace and nature of the interview.
Moreover, ask about the university. The questions must imply that you have done extended research on the school and would like to know more. The interviewer could be an alumnus or an administrator who has plenty of knowledge about the school, so ask questions regarding their experiences at the school and any helpful information they can share. By doing this, you can get more information on the college beyond the websites and brochures.
4. Don’t treat it as an oral exam
Interviews are not meant to ruin your chances of getting into a college; rather, they should ideally give universities the chance to know and understand you through a channel apart from the boarding school application essay.
Treat interviews like conversations over coffee, elaborating on your future goals and interests.
5. Focus on the content of your interview
Study up as much as you can about any general topic you are expected to know about. This can also help you make your college application shine. This aspect of the interview can play to your strengths as an introvert.
Ask a friend to run pertinent questions by you. Once you start talking about something you are familiar with, you will most likely become more animated, convincing and engaging.
6. Experiencing some level of worry is natural
It is natural for you to become preoccupied whenever you are faced with an upcoming interview. If you are a little worried, so what? This is reasonable and logical. Trying not to worry can exhaust you mentally. Most importantly, this can take your attention and energy away from the crucial task at hand.
Acknowledge the anxiety, but work towards overcoming it so that you can perform well during the interview.
7. Embrace the strengths of your personality
No two individuals will have the exact same personalities. While you may display the qualities of an introvert, the person next to you may be more outgoing – that’s the way life is. Never assume, however, that a more extroverted individual will have the upper hand during social situations.
Colleges accept all kinds of students; you may be just the kind of candidate that the interviewer is seeking. Introverts Arhave been observed to have higher chances of becoming great leaders, especially when they belong to the right type of team or move in a positive environment.
8. Leave on a high, positive note
Ending the interview on a positive note is as important as making that great initial impression. Pay close attention to the interviewer so you’ll know when the conversation has reached its end. Always say something positive before leaving, and make a graceful and dignified exit.
For an introvert, the mere thought of being the sole point of focus can make you anxious and uncomfortable. As you go through the interview, however, you might find that you enjoyed and picked up great lessons from the experience. The trick is for you to get over the hump of imagining the worst. Make sure to relax and concentrate on your goal, and most importantly, make those crucial first and last few seconds of the interview count in your favor.
Brian Giroux is an experienced college admissions advisor and co-founder of Capital College Consulting. Brian is a Professional Member of Independent Educational Consulting Association (IECA). Brian has worked with students from over 30 countries to help provide guidance through the US admissions process.
Brian’s experience includes 18+ years in education serving multiple roles as educator, athletic director, and college admissions consultant.