Most common University interview questions

Many students preparing for university will feel nervous about the prospect of attending an interview and answering questions about themselves. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, but there are plenty of ways that you can prepare for your interview so that you feel confident with your answers.

One of the ways that you can prepare for your interview is to think of answers to common questions that are asked in university interviews. You will be able to quickly and efficiently answer the admissions board rather than floundering because you can’t think of what to say.

This is a chance for the admissions team to see what you are like in person and whether you will be a suitable addition to their institute. The interview is also a good opportunity for you to look around the campus and talk to the tutors to decide if you want to attend the university.

What are the most common University interview questions?

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions that are asked in university interviews. If you feel prepared to face the interview, you’ll feel more confident, and so we have included tips of what you can talk about in response to the questions.

1. Why do you want to study this subject?

This question is often asked as the admissions team will want to know what career path you want to take and if the subject is relevant and can help you. You can talk about why you first became interested in the subject, whether it was because you took it as an A-level or because you attended a summer school that focused on that subject area.

The interviewer wants to know that you are genuinely interested in the subject and didn’t just pick it on a whim. It’s good to come prepared with a few examples of what you hope to gain from studying the subject and how you would use the degree to further your education or job prospects.

Your answer should specify the content in this particular course that appeal to your academic interests. Make sure to note down areas that are covered on the course prospectus as this will show that you have done your research.

2. What are your career aspirations?

The university admissions board want to hear about your plans for your future career so that they can decide if this is the right course and university for you. Your answer should show that you have done research into the industry and have decided how your chosen degree subject will prove beneficial to getting a job in a desirable career.

You can suggest further academic studies that might appeal to you after you have completed this stage of your education. This will show that you are motivated and passionate about learning as much as you can about the subject area.

Don’t worry if you haven’t fully decided on which career you want to pursue. You can use this question as an opportunity to talk about the skills you hope to learn throughout your time at university and how they will prove valuable in relevant industries.

3. How would you describe yourself?

This question proves challenging for many people as it requires you to be self-reflective. Whilst it’s important to answer the question truthfully, you should focus on the positive aspects of your personality traits rather than your weaknesses.

An easier way of thinking about this question is to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and consider how your friends describe you. You can talk about attributes that you have such as being hardworking or conscientious and examples of when they have helped you complete tasks.

You don’t have to solely refer to academic achievements, as it’s good to show that you are a well-rounded individual. Try to think of three or four words to describe yourself and then expand on each one by using examples of situations where you have shown or used these attributes.

4. Why did you choose this university?

Most students pick four or five universities to apply to. Your reasoning could be based on many factors, such as the location, a specialist course or the university’s ranking. You can compare universities using The Complete University Guide to find out the best universities for your chosen subject area.

The interviewer will want to know the reasons that you have chosen to apply to their specific institute. Before each interview, it’s a good idea to bullet point a few aspects of the university that appeal to you and be prepared to say why.

5. Why did you choose your A-levels or equivalent subjects?

This is a chance for you to describe your academic aspirations and show you have thought seriously about your academic prospects. You can show that you have already begun your journey towards becoming a specialist after having selected your A-levels.

You can talk about the skills and knowledge that you wanted to gain from studying your subjects and how they will help you as you enter higher education.

6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Here is your opportunity to give the interviewer a better idea of you as an individual. It may be hard to analyse yourself, but you should try to think of academic areas that you excel in, as well as personal attributes that you use in everyday life. These could be abilities such as strong communication skills, your ability to work well in a team or multi-tasking. It’s a good idea to give examples of times that you have used your strengths to benefit a situation. Perhaps there was a time you had to organise an event in your school or for a club you belong to.

It can be difficult to think of what weaknesses you should mention because you still need to present yourself in a good light. Don’t be too negative and describe things that could affect your university degree, such as your inability to work to deadlines or apply feedback to future work. Instead, try framing your weaknesses in a positive light. Show that you know your weaknesses (which demonstrates good self-awareness) and how you’re working on these weaknesses. You could give examples, such as your perfectionist streak that makes you want to keep editing your work.

What questions should I ask at a university interview?

It is common for a university interviewer to ask you if you have any questions at the end of an interview. You should always come prepared with a short list of questions that you would like to ask that aren’t covered in the university or course prospectus. It shows good initiative and curiosity if you ask questions because it shows that you have a genuine interest in the institute and course.

You can ask questions about the teaching methods on the course, as well as the expected goals for each semester. Another good question to ask is what sets the university and that particular subject apart from others, as well as what qualities the university looks for in its students.

This is your opportunity to find out more information about the university and its staff to help you make the important decision as to whether this is the university that you want to attend.

Summary

University interviews are a good way for the admissions team to get to know you, but you should also remember that they are a chance for you to find out more about the course and institute. Don’t forget to ask your own questions so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to accepting your university place.

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