The Inside Scoop on Interviewing

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