Preparing for English Interviews:面接のこころがまえ

With the upcoming events this weekend, participating students seem to be very nervous about their informal interviews with representatives. In preparation for this, I have been working either individually or in groups trying to help students build confidence in English conversation and polish their prepared answers for potential questions which often appear in interviews with college representatives. There are a few things for students to keep in mind when preparing for any kind of interview, and especially those with representatives for a potential school to which they may apply.

1. An interview should be a natural conversation.
Although we are basing our practice sessions on a set list of questions and the responses they have written in advance, students are often stumped when I ask them questions related to their answers that they had not anticipated. Natural conversation, and even formal interviews, are not predictable and often go in directions that the interviewee did not expect beforehand. Although it is difficult to prepare for such deviations in conversation, it helps to think about possible questions the interviewer will have about the interviewee’s responses and how to elaborate upon their answers. Additionally, if students expect not to be able to depend entirely on their notes, and build of confidence in English conversation beforehand, the spontaneity required should hopefully come naturally during the real thing.

2. Prepare appropriate questions to ask the interviewer.
Many students become so preoccupied with preparing perfect answers to questions about themselves, that they forget that the interview is as much an opportunity for the school representative to get to know them as it is for the student to learn vital information about schools at which they may devote the next four or more years of their life – as well as their future. Students should prepare several questions about the school both to further the conversation as well as to get as much information as possible about college. Possible topics about a school which a student absolutely must know include housing options, support for international students, available facilities, local attractions, the list goes on and on. Students should consider what it is they require in a learning and living environment and be sure to prepare as many questions as possible. While one possible question may be, “Does your school have a library?” this is not entirely adequate as it ends with either a “Yes” or “No”, and although important information, does little to advance the conversation. Students should try to ask questions which demand more dynamic answers, such as “How can I get help if I am having difficulty in one of my class?”, among others.

These are just two things to keep in mind when preparing for an interview with a college representative. Whether the student is able to give perfect answers with perfect grammar is irrelevant as this is not a primary factor in a schools final decision of an applicant’s eligibility for admission, but rather and opportunity for both parties to learn more about each other in an informal and intimate setting.




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