The Interview

<p>I have a Swarthmore interview scheduled for this Thursday with an admissions officer. I know the basics--dress presentably but comfortably, firm handshake, eye contact, etc.--but I'm still pretty nervous, and I imagine I'm not the only one. It would be great if some of you who've been through the process could describe your interviews so we know what to expect. What kinds of questions do they ask? How important is it to have questions of your own (in my case, I'm having trouble coming up with any to ask at all)? </p>

<p>Thanks so much.</p>

<p>My advice is to first of all be yourself as much as possible. You can try role playing at home before you go if that will lessen your butterflies. The admissions officer is probably very experienced in doing interviews, and they will try to put you at your ease and not bite your head off.</p>

<p>One of the main things that a school like Swarthmore is looking for, in addition to top notch academic qualifications, is to get a sense of what you are passionate about. It could be a particular subject matter at school, but can easily be an extra-curricular activity or current event or cause. In a small school like Swarthmore they want to have a student body made up of people who are more than bookworm geniuses.</p>

<p>So one consideration for each applicant is for the admissions folks to think about what contribution each student would make to campus life beyond the academic world. That could be involvement in theatre, athletics, music, social activism or any number of things.</p>

<p>Swarthmore has a tradition of social service and political awareness if not activism. If you are interested in a current event or cause and can talk about it in an informed way, that would be positive. But don't just make something up!</p>

<p>The interview should also be something of a two-way street. You should learn something more about the personality of Swarthmore in addition to the facts and figures you can get out of the viewbook or off the website.</p>

<p>Good luck! I'm sure people will be interested in hearing how it goes.</p>

<p>All the Admissions people are REALLY AWESOME. Don't be nervous they are really great and you will automatically feel comfortable.</p>

<p>Be yourself, and be ready to answer a lot of "why" questions (why do you participate in stuff you do, why you chose the instrument that you play, why do you like the books/movies/plays/etc. that you like, and so on).</p>

<p>Thanks everyone. This is all good advice.</p>

<p>dadx3, the reason I'm having trouble coming up with questions is that my sister goes there--so there's not much to find out that I don't already know, aside from admissions related questions, which seem boring, dry and too focused on getting on, not going there. I think I might ask them some casual personal questions ("So, how many places do you visit in the fall? Do you get sick of doing interviews?"), just to mix it up. But I'm not sure how it'll come across.</p>

If your sister goes to Swarthmore, I wouldn't waste too much time trying to come up with questions to ask just for the sake of asking questions. It will be very obvious to an admissions interviewer that you know a lot about the school. My S brought a resume of sorts with him and handed it to the interviewer, even though they may ask you to fill out a form while you're in the waiting area which will ask you a bunch of questions about yourself. Both the questionnaire and the resume can be used by the admissions interviewer as a "jumping off point" to begin a discussion. I remember that my S got into a whole discussion with his interviewer about an unusual summer job he had. They are really looking to see if you are a good fit with Swat, and may even tell you so during the course of the interview. That happened to my S. Take a deep breath, exhale and good luck! It will be fine!</p>

<p>very laid back and the people there are very nice. just be yourself and its more like a conversation than an interview. good luck!</p>