University interviews can be overwhelming, especially if you have never had a formal interview before. If you have been invited for interview at one or more of the universities to which you have applied, do not panic, this is your chance to shine. It is the mark of an outstanding application to be invited to attend an interview, but you will be competing against other strong candidates, so it is important to prepare well. We have prepared the ultimate guide for you to ace your UCAS interview.
Practice Common Questions
Try to prepare answers to common questions before appearing for your interview. Most universities would want to know why do you want to study your chosen subject, and why would you like to go to this university. Make sure to prepare and have polished and memorized the answers to these questions. They will ask you, among other things, about your reasons for choosing to study that particular subject to make sure you are aware of what the course entails and what the job choices are. They will also test your ability to relate and deal with stress. Interviewers would expect you to display some understanding of the course and university and to be able to present your thoughts and arguments well. The interviewers may even purposely throw out a controversial opinion to start a debate. Don’t hesitate to disagree with them but keep the discussion as a polite debate. Always be prepared to explain or offer evidence for your argument.
Review Personal Statement
Make sure you thoroughly review your personal statement because you will probably be asked to elaborate on what you wrote about yourself, your accomplishments, and your goals. They may ask you to expand on any statements you have made in your personal statement that indicate your specific interest in the subject, such as any additional research or work experience you have done, so make sure that your statement stands up to scrutiny.
You should have a clear set of goals for studying the prospective course. You must take into consideration what are the particular course modules may suit you and how it will benefit you towards your long term career. What would be the learning outcome that may benefit you studying the proposed course.
Research and Read on Your Subject
It is also extremely beneficial to brush up your current knowledge of your subject, such as new developments or academic papers published that you can talk about. The interviewer will want to see that you have a deep intellectual curiosity and interest in the subject to which you are applying, so the best thing you can do is just try to remain optimistic and enthusiastic throughout the whole interview. Enthusiasm is the most important aspect they look for in a candidate, and being on top everything going on in your subject field and beyond will demonstrate that you’re very dedicated and ready to learn more.
A little practice goes a long way. There are plenty of resources on the internet regarding popular university interview questions. Get someone to ask you those questions and practise your answers until you get it right. It takes the uncertainty and fear out of interviews to have an idea of what you may be asked and how you will respond to them.
Bring Essential and Supporting Documents
Make sure to bring your invitation, a copy of your UCAS form and any notes you want to bring along. If you are applying for a creative arts course, you may be asked to carry a portfolio of your work. Remember bringing it with you as the interview will mostly be focused around it. You will be expected to discuss the contents of your portfolio so make sure they are presented in an organised way. Your work must demonstrate your personal interests and how your talents and theories have developed over time.
Usually, your portfolio would consist of research examples, work in progress and finished pieces which do not necessarily have to be related to your university.
Arrive Early for Your Interview
Being punctual can also allow you to make a good impression, so aim to arrive at your interview 10 or 15 minutes early, as well as leaving yourself plenty of time for your journey. This will make you look enthusiastic, and that gives you the opportunity to mentally brace yourself so you don’t walk in flustered and nervous.
Dress Smartly and Professionally
Your appearance or the clothes you wear will not be judged at the interview so dress comfortably but smartly. Trousers or a skirt, along with a shirt or blouse, will help you make a good first impression and show the interviewer that you take your studies seriously. There’s no need for a suit, but you’ll always need to look professional.
Look Confident to Make an Impression
It’s not just what you say that’s important but how you say it. Your body language is key to the impression you will make. Make sure you maintain eye contact as well as look and sound interested. The interview is a two-way process so it’s important to engage with the interviewer throughout.
Listen to the question carefully and don’t be afraid to take some time to think about your answer or ask them to repeat it. Make the most of it by finding out as much about the course as you can and having a sense of whether you are right for the course and the university.
Prepare Questions in Advance
You may be asked to have any questions at the end of the interview so it’s good to have a couple prepared. For instance, you could ask about the course teaching methods or any tips on how to succeed on this particular course. One good question to ask is the employability aspect of the course and what graduates usually go on to do afterwards in terms of career or further study. This will show you are serious about your future and want to do well in your course.
The key to acing your UCAS interview is all about preparation beforehand. You have got this far based on your merit so with proper preparation and honest valid answers, you will excel in your interview as well. Also, remember to stay relaxed, believe in your capabilities and present them confidently. If you need further guidance regarding your UCAS interview, get in touch with UK Education Consultants of AHZ associates.