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The Inside Scoop on Interviewing

June 1, 2011 by

Admit It! You’re a type-A, super-organized, over-prepared student.  You don’t go into a test without studying so why would you go into a college interview without preparing?  Let’s face it, you simply wouldn’t.  But how can you prepare for a college interview?  There’s been no lecture to study, no notes to review, no study guide or Cliff’s Notes.  I feel your pain.  Not knowing what to expect would have made me more nervous than the actual interview itself.  So while this is not the complete list, here is a Cliff’s Notes version of the questions you can expect to be asked at a William & Mary interview.

  1. What extracurricular activities have you been involved with?
  2. What have you learned from your involvement in those activities?
  3. About which are you most passionate?  [if you're not asked why, the "why" is implied]
  4. Talk about your high school.
  5. How would you describe yourself as a student?  In what kind of academic setting do you thrive? [the “why" is implied]
  6. If your teachers had three adjectives to describe you as a student what three adjectives would they use and why?
  7. If you could take a class in any subject that’s not offered at your high school, what subject would you take a class in? [What’s the “why”?  Oh yes, it’s implied]
  8. Talk about a class project that excited you intellectually.
  9. Talk about a challenge you’ve faced and how you worked through it.
  10. What is the accomplishment about which you are the most proud? [Do I even have to mention the “why” again?}
  11. If there was a newspaper article published about you in the past year, what would the headline be?
  12. How would your friends describe you? [Don’t forget the “why”]
  13. Why are you interested in William & Mary? [yes, elaborate with the “why”]
  14. If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?
  15. If you were given a plane ticket and you could fill in the destination, where would you go?
  16. Are there questions you expected to be asked but weren’t?
  17. If you were to have a personal mascot, what it be?

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Our interviews are conducted by current W&M seniors.  The interviews aren’t scripted but instead are designed to be conversational.  Depending on the answers you provide the conversation could go a million different directions.  In the end, they are designed to get to know you in a way the application cannot.  The most important prep work you can do is to be prepared to talk about yourself substantively.  Again, the “why” is always implied.  Don’t ramble but don’t give your answers short shrift.  Be yourself and you’ll ace the interview.

Wendy Livingston, ’03, M.Ed. ’09
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission


  • mark says:

    I was rejected from the William and Mary transfer wait list :( Was anyone accepted from the wait list?

  • Admit It! says:

    Mark, it wasn’t that you were rejected from the transfer waitlist. For all intents and purposes we didn’t use the transfer or freshman waitlists this year as our classes came in full. Only a handful of waitlisted students were admitted to the freshman and transfer classes this year.

  • Dan says:

    Thank you so much! My friend and I are interviewing the same day at the same time and we were very worried about what to expect. This was incredibly beneficial! Good thing we love to talk about ourselves… :)

  • Admit It! says:

    Yes, talking about yourselves is key Dan. The interview is designed to get the story behind all of the information you provide in your application. Be prepared for a few creative, off-the-wall type questions that aren’t listed here but these are a good guide.

  • Dan says:

    Well, we’re very excited! Thank you for all of the information you have supplied in this blog. W&M is by far the most helpful and personable college I have looked in to.

  • Admit It! says:

    Dan, we’re happy to help. Glad you’ve found W&M so personable. W&M is very much about providing our students with a close community and individualized campus experience and we’re glad to hear that’s evident in the Admission Office’s outreach efforts

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been waiting for my interview for a very long time, and not just because I’m leaving school early. :) This really helped me to organize my thoughts and take a good hard look at where I am as a person, where I have been as a student, and where I want to be in my future.

  • Admit It! says:

    Victoria, did you interview recently? If so it sounds like you enjoyed it and we’re glad the blog post helped you to prepare. If you’ve registered for an upcoming interview, good luck!

  • Victoria says:

    I’m actually interviewing this coming week. Thank you!

  • Admit It! says:

    Good luck!