My Guide To University Interviews - Tips, Preparation and Essentials

Sunday, January 28, 2018

My Guide To University Interviews - Tips, Preparation and Essentials

University interviews can be incredibly stressful, as you essentially have half an hour to prove that you're passionate about the subject and want to study it further, as well as trying to stand out from all the other candidates. It can definitely be daunting, especially if it's at a particularly prestigious university, however I want to assure you that it's not as scary as it seems. Since I've had multiple university interviews and learnt many lessons from them, I thought it'd be worth sharing this advice with you to hopefully help if you have any upcoming interviews.

P A C K I N G   T H E   E S S E N T I A L S

If you're attending a university interview, then there are a few basics that you should definitely consider bringing with you. A pen is always an essential in case you have to do an exam, any written work or just fill out some forms. A bottle of water is also good to pack, as it's important to stay hydrated and also gives you a couple of seconds to formulate your answer in your head while taking a sip. If you've been asked to bring anything else, including submitted written work, then make sure you also remember this.

If your interview is further away and involves travel, there may be some other essentials to pack. Aside from your phone and money which are guaranteed to go with you, it may be handy to take a book or some college work to pass the time, especially if you're travelling on the train. I also took my laptop, charger and earphones with me to help pass the time on the journey and whilst waiting in the station. Some other things you may want to pack are some snacks, mints, body spray and a map, just in case.

T I M E   M A N A G E M E N T

The last thing you want is to be rushing to your interview and getting yourself worked up beforehand, and it's much better to be incredibly early than making a mad dash for the location with only 5 minutes to spare. It also helps if you have maps ready on your phone and know the address of where you're going, as well as any specific buildings or room numbers, so that you won't start panicking before your interview trying to find it. If you are early, it's best to acquaint yourself with the area, both so you know exactly where to go for the interview and also to get a feel for the town or city that might become your new home whilst at university.

L O O K   P R E S E N T A B L E

It's likely that the university will have specified a dress code for your interview, but if in doubt then it's always best to air on the more formal side. This doesn't mean you have to be wearing a full suit (unless specified of course), but it looks more professional and respectable if you're wearing something smart and formal rather than simply opting for jeans. However, also remember to dress practically, considering how much walking you'll have to do and what the weather is like.

E N J O Y   T H E   A R E A

If you're in a new town or city for an interview, you might as well make the most of your time there and get a feel for life there, especially since it could become your new home. Whether that's by shopping, sightseeing or just spending a bit of time in the area, it's great to get a feel for the atmosphere as well as enjoying the day out while you can.


You don't want to walk into your interview feeling completely lost and inexperienced, so the best way to prevent this is to do as much preparation as possible. Make sure you know your personal statement inside out, including any books or articles that you've made reference to, and be prepared to answer questions on any of the topics you've discussed. If you've had to submit any work, then you should also know this like the back of your hand as it's likely they'll discuss it in the interview.

It's also worth looking at the university's website again and familiarising yourself with their facilities and the course, in case any questions are asked about why you've chosen to apply there specifically. Also, be prepared for the generic questions of why you want to study that subject, maybe having a few examples in mind that you could easily slot into any question.

M O C K   I N T E R V I E W S

Mock interviews are extremely important, perhaps the most important thing out of this entire post. I had six mock university interviews in college and it's crazy to see the progression and development made between them. I'll be completely honest, on my first one I was incredibly nervous, had very short answers to all of the questions and felt ridiculously unprepared, yet by my final one I could discuss the topics with ease and felt a lot more confident and prepared with my answers, including lots of examples and wider knowledge.

I really want to emphasise this point as my mock interviews helped incredibly, as they give you the chance to practice questions, as well as getting feedback on what you did well and how you can improve, so that you can perfect your interview technique for the real thing. For me, my main area of improvement was having the confidence to show my knowledge and give examples and quotes in questions, rather than just briefly discussing the novels I was talking about. You'll also gain an idea of what you may be asked and how they may phrase questions, so you'll definitely feel more prepared. If you have a teacher like mine, you'll also be pushed and stretched a lot farther than you thought possible, so that in comparison the real thing will feel less daunting and intimidating.

S H O W   Y O U R   P A S S I O N

Ultimately, you need to show that you enjoy the subject and want to study it further, as it's this enthusiasm and passion that'll really shine through when you're talking about the subject. This shouldn't be hard to channel, as at the end of the day if you really enjoy something then you should easily be able to convey that in an interview.

Hopefully these interview tips were helpful, and if you have any upcoming university interviews then I wish you the best of luck! If you follow all of this advice then I'm sure that you'll do really well, and the university will definitely recognise your potential. Thank you very much for reading this blog post and I'll be back next Sunday with another one, so I'll see you then.

Love from Daisy x

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