124: College Interview Tips and Strategies

Monica James absolutely crushes it in this interview, offering more practical advice than you’ll find in most weekend workshops on this topic. And it’s no wonder: for years she’s been teaching people (and in particular high school students) how to give great interviews.

SHOW NOTES

This episode is an interview… on interviews! Monica James--whom you may’ve heard previously on the podcast in the episode on Demonstrated Interest--absolutely crushes it in this interview, offering more practical advice than you’ll find in most weekend workshops on this topic. And it’s no wonder: for years she’s been teaching people (and in particular high school students) how to give great interviews. We cover, among other things:

  • Why do colleges give interviews?

  • Can a bad interview actually hurt your application chances?

  • How do you prepare for the interview?

  • What’s the one thing that colleges are looking for above all else?

  • How do you answer the “Why this college” interview question?

  • How do you answer the Strengths and Weaknesses interview Question?

  • How do you answer the Tell Me About Your Reading Life or “What books have you read recently” question?

  • What is the hardest interview question and how do you handle it?

  • What if you get a “bad” interviewer?

  • What if you’re asked a question in an interview that you truly don’t know the answer to?

  • How much does body language matter in an interview?

  • What should you wear to an interview?

  • How do I handle a Skype or Phone Interview?

  • How do I set up an interview?

  • How should I practice?

  • What about Scholarship Interviews—are they different?

PLAY-BY-PLAY

Who is Monica James? [2:26] 
How Monica first started coaching college interviewing? [3:35] 
An anecdote about the power of storytelling [5:48] 4:07
Why colleges give interviews [4:38] 
Can an interview hurt an applicant? [5:29] 
Which schools require an interview? [6:23] 
Why students should do suggested interviews [7:30] 
How do students prepare for an interview? [9:55] 
The formula for preparing an excellent interview question answer [11:26] 
One thing colleges are looking for [16:50] 12:12
How less intellectual students show intellectual vitality [17:45] 13:05
How students prepare for the “Why Us” question [14:33] 
How to prepare for the “what is your weakness” question [17:23] 
How to answer the “what is your reading life like?” question [21:17] 
The hardest interview question [23:53] 
What if your interviewer isn’t that great? [27:47] 
Monica James’ favorite questions [31:45] 
What to do if you have no idea how to answer a question [34:48] 
Advice on body language, what to wear, and handshakes [38:24] 
What to do if your interviewer goes in for the hug [40:57] 
What to know about eye contact and fidgeting [41:36] 
How to prepare for a Skype or phone interview [44:04] 
How to setup an interview [45:50] 
Who to practice an interview with [47:31] 
How to prepare for scholarship interviews [50:25] 
How to be charming [52:27] 
Develop questions to ask the interviewer [55:00] 
Monica’s Show and Tell [57:57] 
Ethan’s Show and Tell [59:23] 

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