I've been interviewing for my alma mater (an Ivy League school) for the past 4-5 years and I would like to share general tips that I think will help everyone here no matter who you'll be interviewing for.
I realize this is late for the HS class of 2010, but for the class of 2011 and beyond..it's never too early to think about the college interview:
Starting off, these links give extremely good advice: Interview Tips for College Admissions ~ GoCollege.com
-> to sum up...be honest and yourself college interview questions list
-> good common sense tips that'll go a long way
My personal input:
You should aim for two goals during the interview:
1) Connect with the interviewer. Turn the interview into a conversation.
2) More importantly, show the interviewer that you're extremely interested in the school without sounding desperate. A fine line to balance.
These tips should help you with getting these goals:
1. Please do a bit of research about the school you are interviewing for. Academic program that you are interested in? Extracurriculars that you may be interested in? Remember a few off hand.
2. Don't give a generic canned responses. Don't sound forced. Interviewers hear them all the time. You want to flesh out your answers. Tie your answers with the research that you've done and with personal experiences.
3. When talking about extracurricular activities, make sure to tie your leadership experiences. Be introspective about what you've learned from being a leader and how it helped you moving forward. Introspectively flesh out your answers without going to too much details.
4. If you've done something unique and noteworthy, this is the time to mention it. Showing you're unique when just about all college applicants you're competing against have done roughly the same extracurricular actives, big bonus for you.
5. When talking about academics, be introspective about what lessons of life you've learned from the class, not about the content matter. You may not realize it, but some of the most memorable quotes naturally come from there. Again, introspectively flesh out your answers without going into too much details.
6. Be genuine. Be yourself. You need to sound natural and not forced. Interviewers/admission committees can spot a mile away if you aren't. However, you'll make the admissions committee lives a little easier since your application will quickly be put in the reject pile.
7. Ask questions. Don't asked canned questions. Here are two examples. When asking questions, ask the alumni interviewer about their personal experiences with the school. Ask them how one can get involved after graduation etc. If it is an admissions officer, ask about the Penn community from their perspective. Goal isn't exactly to learn more about the school here. It's really to show the interviewer that you're interested.
8. Don't be nervous at all. Be relaxed. Unless you say "yes" or "no" to most questions, sound stiff and don't seem interested, you won't bomb an interview. The minimum you'll normally get is that you're a nice person/you're not crazy. Interviewers and admissions committee members really want to like you and write you up well. It's your job to give them lots of ammunition.
If you are able to execute this well, you'll swing the interview in your favor as much as you possibly can.